Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I emailed The World Tonight:
I listened to your programme yesterday evening in frustration. Please stop referring to the women killed in Ipswich and Suffolk as 'girls'. I presume this is because they are in prostitution but there is no need for this patronising and offensive term. These are not children, they are women. Please call them that.

They replied:
Dear Ms Willitts,

Thank you for your email and your interest in The World Tonight.

There has been a lot of discussion among both our editorial teams and our audiences about the use of language in relation to the murder victims in Ipswich.

As a whole, BBC News decided they should be described as 'women' on first reference and where relevant we also say they worked as 'prostitutes' or were 'sex workers'. 'Girls' is clearly inappropriate and we have reminded reporters and presenters to avoid this description when they have done so.

Thank you again for your email and your interest in The World Tonight.

Yours sincerely,

Alistair Burnett

Editor, The World Tonight

BBC News

With a nod to The Shouty Woman's post, To the Journalists Covering the Ipswich murders.

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Anonymous said...

Pippa, that's fantastic! Just goes to show what we can achieve.