Offensive language on TV
Stabroek News
October 17, 2001

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Dear Editor,

Permit me a brief comment on your editor's note appended to my letter on the use of offensive language on TV (Stabroek News, 10 October).

Are you suggesting that because a reporter is reporting on the legal offence of buggery he is free to use a term which, though legitimate in legal circles, is offensive in other contexts? Do the feelings and sensitivities of the community no longer matter? Is he not responsible for the consequences he unleashes?

A parent watching TV with her family at 6:30 pm in the privacy of her own home is entitled to protection from offensive and vile consequences. Such consequences include the situation that arises when, as a result of watching TV, her six or 7-year -old asks, "Mom, what is buggery?"

I am not a lawyer, but if the law permits reporters (and their employers) to perpetrate such obnoxious consequences, the law should be amended.

Finally, your idea of "context" is too narrow. The relevant context in this instance is the broader social context of a dangerous sense of lawlessness that is spreading in this country. How vile and offensive language on TV feeds this sense of lawlessness is what you should be concerned about.

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

Editor's note

If the word is not to be used in reporting the offence how should the offence be described or should it not be reported at all?