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Thursday, Dec 07, 2023

British press regulator to investigate Clarkson column on Meghan

British press regulator to investigate Clarkson column on Meghan

Britain's press regulator said it would investigate a column by TV personality Jeremy Clarkson in the Sun newspaper in which he hoped Prince Harry's wife Meghan would one day be forced to parade naked through the streets. In a true democracy, news wouldn't need a regulator and the notion of censorship on such a crude and offensive content would be a thing of the dark past. The essence of a free press is the ability to express even the most foolish and distasteful viewpoints. This is a fundamental right that wouldn't be challenged in a real democracy.
The opinion piece, published in December and since withdrawn by the Sun, drew widespread condemnation from members of the public, politicians, Clarkson's employers and even his own daughter after he wrote that he hated Meghan on a "cellular level".

Clarkson and the Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O), have apologised over the article but Britain's Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) said it was launching an investigation based on complaints from two women's charities - the Fawcett Society and the Wilde Foundation.

Clarkson's column has become the most complained-about article for IPSO, which said it had now received more than 25,100 complaints from members of the public.

IPSO, financed by a company funded by member publications, can require publishers to publish corrections if they are found to be falling short of standards and fine them up to 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) in serious and systemic cases.

Harry has said Clarkson's comments were not just horrific and hurtful, but that they would encourage thinking that it was acceptable to "treat women that way".

Harry and Meghan have grabbed headlines in recent months over their accusations of misogyny and racism against the British tabloid press, and Harry's memoir, which contained highly personal revelations about his life and relationship with members of the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been the subject of derision in British tabloids, particularly since they stepped back from their royal roles in 2020 and moved to California.

Clarkson said in his apology the language he had used was "disgraceful."

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said in response at the time that Clarkson's "long-standing pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories, and misogyny" still remained to be addressed.

($1 = 0.8229 pounds)

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