Media Council of Bermuda
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BermudaReal suspended

BermudaReal has been suspended by the Media Council of Bermuda for not publishing a Board-mandated apology to Dexter Smith and The Royal Gazette.

In a unanimous ruling by the Board, BermudaReal was adjudged to have broken Clauses 12 and 13 of the Media Council's Code of Practice in an article published on June 15, 2018, entitled 'Just another BermudaReal follow up on the Real Story not printed by the RG.'

The Board ruled that the article ran afoul of Clause 12 which deals with discrimination. The Code expressly provides in Section 12 that the media shall avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's skin colour or race. The reference to "your first black oreo cookie editor" clearly was a deliberate pejorative reference to the individual's skin colour and race. The term "oreo" or "oreo cookie" is a widely recognised racial slur that means "black on the outside and white on the inside". It has a negative connotation denoting a person of African descent who is perceived to "act like a white person"; typically in a context where the person using the slur against another believes such perceived behaviour to have a negative stigma.

The Board also ruled the article ran afoul of Clause 13 which deals with incitement to hatred. Section 13 defines "hate speech" as "hateful, threatening, abusive or insulting language intended or likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against an individual or group on the basis of skin colour, race, nationality (including citizenship)."

BermudaReal can apply for reinstatement to the Media Council Board in 28 days (February 27, 2019).

Don Burgess