Government tells press to ‘get on’ with reform following Lucy Meadows inquest

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has commented on the inquest into the death of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows and says it is now time for the press industry “to get on with setting up an independent, self-regulatory body.”

Yesterday, Michael Singleton, coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and Rossendale, condemned the press for intruding into the private life of Lucy Meadows.

Before her death from suicide in February, Meadows had contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to complain about the way she had been treated after her gender transition was made public by a local paper and then the wider national media in December 2012.

Mr Singleton announced he would be writing to Culture Secretary Maria Miller over the press’s conduct and he was particularly scathing of the Daily Mail.

“It seems to me that nothing has been learnt from the Leveson Inquiry or subsequent report,” he added.

The Daily Mail on Wednesday once again defended its December 2012 decision to publish a transphobic article about Lucy Meadows by columnist Richard Littlejohn.

In March, a Mail spokesman quoted Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade, who stressed “that there is no clear link – indeed any link – between what Littlejohn wrote and the death of Lucy Meadows.”

Last November, Lord Justice Leveson’s report into media standards declared that parts of the press had failed to respect the dignity of trans people.

He said: “It is clear that there is a marked tendency in a section of the press to fail to treat members of the transgender and intersex communities with sufficient dignity and respect… parts of the tabloid press continue to seek to ‘out’ transgender people notwithstanding its prohibition in the Editors’ Code.”

On Wednesday, a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said to “Lord Justice Leveson was clear that we need to reform our system of press regulation.

“We have cross party agreement on a strong new system of voluntary self-regulation of the press, based on incentives, and without the need for statutory regulation.

“It is now for the industry to get on with setting up an independent, self-regulatory body.”

Trans Media Watch (TMW), the charity that works to improve media coverage of transgender and intersex issues submitted evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

On Tuesday TMW called for the press to end its “character assassination” of trans people.