The Australian Press Council ruled that the Courier-Mail’s coverage of transgender Mayang Prasetyo’s murder in Teneriffe, Brisbane last October referring to her as a ‘she male’ was “gratuitous”.
The tabloid led the story with a sensational “Monster Chef and the She Male” headline. It also included a photograph of the victim wearing a bikini.
The coverage continued inside, on pages 4 and 5, with another salacious headline, ‘Ladyboy and the butcher’. Additionally, it included images from an escort website and the victim in a white swimsuit.
Q News, along with many others, was quick to condemn the paper’s treatment of the story.
The Australian Press Council (APC) considered that the prominent treatment given to the victim’s gender, and the repetitive detail of her sex work, gratuitous. It said that contributed to the substantial offence caused by the terminology used to describe the victim.
The APC described the coverage of Ms Prasetyo’s death as ‘not reasonably fair and balanced’.
In doing so, the Courier-Mail breached the council’s Standard of Practice (Principles 3 and 6).
She male, prostitute and hooker wife
The paper referred to Prasetyo as a she male, a prostitute and a hooker wife. It also included the headline ‘Killed and cooked trans woman was high-class sex worker’.
The paper told the APC that the day following the controversial front page, it published as ‘prominent editorial’ an article headed ‘Victim’s memory should be valued’. It said it had “no intention of diminishing” the life of the victim.
It also said following the publication of the articles, it published letters and articles critical of the publication.
The council agreed, saying the paper had tried to make amends by publishing an opinion piece by the Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland.
“The council notes the steps taken by the publication to address the complaints and commends it for its work to ensure such issues are covered sensitively in future.”
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