The Australian Press Council has upheld complaints made last year about a Daily Telegraph story that seemed to label being LGBTI a bad health choice on par with obesity and drug use.
The article, ‘Fat chance of being healthy: Young Aussies have only themselves to blame’, included an infographic with “worrying findings” on how many young Australians use drugs or drink alcohol at risky levels, are obese, and—bafflingly—are same-sex attracted.
“To all the young people or parents of gay or bisexual teens that opened up The Daily Telegraph to read that diverse sexuality is a health problem, I am so sorry,” she said.
“This is no doubt extremely distressing and sends a message that there is something wrong with them or their kids.
“This reads like an ill-informed article from the last century. It is 2017, we should not be reading this sort of stuff in our newspapers.”
Offended members of the LGBTI community protested outside News Corp headquarters over the story.
The Daily Telegraph said that the infographic was put together by someone other than the person who wrote the headline, under time pressure, and that the infographic had been misinterpreted by the public.
An apology was published online but not in print.
The Press Council’s recent adjudication rejected the newspaper’s assertion that the headline and infographic should have been read separately, and determined that its online apology had been insufficient.
It ruled that the story “caused substantial offence, distress, prejudice and risk to public health and safety, and there was no public interest in justifying this”.
The Daily Telegraph ran the Press Council’s adjudication in its print edition late last month after the ruling was made.
At the Press Council’s request, the paper ran the adjudication again yesterday, in larger font.