March 18, 2011
Channel 4 commits to fair portrayal of trans people
Channel 4 have become the first signatories to a Memorandum of Understanding produced by lobby group Trans Media Watch. The document promotes respect for trans people in the media as well as the elimination of transphobia and misinformation.
Trans Media Watch created the memorandum, launched earlier this week at a reception hosted by Channel 4, as part of a push for positive representation of trans people in the media. Research published by the group last year linked negative media portrayals with transphobic harassment and discrimination.
“Channel 4 recognises and respects the ambitions of Trans Media Watch, and its core values of accuracy, dignity and respect,” said Stuart Cosgrove, director of creative diversity. The television station is “delighted to become signatories to Trans Media Watch’s aims to work towards great tolerance and improved representation of transgender people,” he added.
Media lawyer David Allen Green, who spoke at the launch, hails the event as “a step in the direction of a more liberal society where the autonomy of the individual is placed higher the needless and often spiteful interferences of the commercial media”. He argues that the “treatment of transgender people is [...] not a marginal issue; it is instead a general issue about media standards and the privacy of the individual”.
A representative of the BBC announced at the launch event that they will also be supporting “key elements” of the memorandum, and ITV have also expressed an interest in signing the document. Trans advocates are currently lobbying other media organisations, such as the Guardian media group, to follow suit.
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