Recently, there was an incident where a British sports commentator made a racist comment and swore, believing he was off-air. It was reported in the press three ways; without mentioning the offending words (one racist, one obscene); using asterixes to replace letter; or by printing the words.
Not reporting the words is logical; if they are offensive, then don't print them. Printing them also makes sense by allowing the reader to decide whether they are obscene and concentrating on reporting the facts. My newspaper, which has a policy of printing swear words in full where they are part of the story, suggested that those who had used asterixes were caught between two stools as they wanted to be both judgemental and also make sure all their readers knew exactly what had been said.
1) Swearing imposes a personal penalty
2) Swearing is bad for society
3) Swearing corrupts the English language
Are they right, or are they overstating the case against swearing? Should the press print swearing?
Categories: General Topics