Well not quite. The Irish Independent newspaper carried an article yesterday about a campaign by a group called SPACE to have the Merseyside Model adopted in Ireland. You can read it here:
You can also read two comments. These were not the only comments made. A number of people attempted to make comments pointing out the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the SPACE position but their comments were not posted by the moderator. Here, for what it’s worth, is mine.
“The chutzpah of these people never ceases to amaze me. The Merseyside Model works well in England precisely because sex work is not criminalised and sex workers feel that, on the whole, they can trust the police. This has been a successful initiative, one supported by active sex workers, and it should not be appropriated by a campaign in favour of the discredited Nordic model”
It seems too obvious to need mentioning that the Merseyside Model is fundamentally incompatible with criminalisation, whether of sex workers or clients. What is worse though is that these advocates of criminalisation talk about the Merseyside Model as if only they were concerned about sex workers’ safety. In fact sex workers’ rights advocates have been promoting the Merseyside Model as good practice for a number of years, not that you would know this from reading the Irish Independent. The appropriation of the Model by SPACE is cynical and mendacious. But, as a certain Josef Goebbels once perceptively observed, the bigger the lie the more likely it is to be believed.
An uncritical report is one thing, but censoring opposing views is quite another. I am a freelance journalist and NUJ member so know a little about journalistic ethics, particularly the need to report objectively and not suppress inconvenient facts or opinions. I do not consider that my comment breaches any of the guidelines and can see no valid reason for not publishing it.
So, Irish Independent, who are you independent of? Why are you opposed to independent thought and open debate? Or maybe you need to change your name?
A quick update: I posted my comment again this afternoon together with a barbed comment about censorship and it has now been posted (less the bit about censorship – maybe I shamed them into posting it). My general point remains valid though. I shouldn’t have had to submit the comment again.