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Using Prince Harry's words

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 11:40 UK time, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

There has been much controversy prompted by media coverage of the language used by Prince Harry in the video he recorded. Most of the discussion has been about the words he used. But we know it upset some of our audience that we repeated the words in our own coverage. We have also had many comments that we have given the episode too much coverage and that it was a fuss about nothing. This blog examines our editorial thinking and includes, in case you want to avoid being offended, the words in question.

Prince HarryWhen the News of the World broke the Prince Harry story on Saturday night we had to decide whether to use the words "Paki" and "rag head" in our coverage online and in broadcasting. We took the decision that in order for audiences to understand the story we would need to use the words, but that we should use them sparingly. Presenters were told not to over-use the word and to convey, through their tone of voice, that the words, particularly "Paki", are controversial.

It is clear from debate on BBC message boards, blogs and discussion programmes that there is a wide range of views about the word. The majority of comments from the audience have argued that it was a "nickname" and not racist. However within the audience that contacted the Asian Network, most felt it was an abusive term; but not all Asian listeners felt that the use of the word should be prohibited on air.

Given that the word is clearly offensive to an important part of our audience, why did we use it at all? Firstly, for clarity. Prince Harry used the word so that is why we did, as the most straightforward way of explaining the story to the audience. Not using the word could have confused audiences and possibly made them think other terms were used. The response to the debate itself shows that there is no established consensus about the word, with some people believing it can be "affectionate" and "innocuous ", while others would prefer us to avoid using it. In this context the BBC avoiding the word would, in itself, have represented us taking a position on the use of the word which would have not been impartial. Not using the word might also have meant we needed to require contributors to radio phone-ins to avoid it. This would have been unworkable.

The BBC will always be sensitive to the views of all our audiences. In this instance the best thing we can do it is to be moderate and factual in our use of contested language and to hold the ring for the public debate that follows. And the strong views expressed on all sides probably indicate that, one way or another, it was a story well worth covering.

Peter Horrocks is head of the BBC Newsroom.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    "Presenters were told not to over-use the word and to convey, through their tone of voice, that the words, particularly "Paki", are controversial."

    I am sorry Mr Horrocks but I am not going to let the BBC get away with being insensitive either - all words meant to be racist and deliberately offensive are equally bad, no degrees necessary. But isn't this a desperate story to dredge up? Something that happened three years ago conveyed in a none too pleasant tabloid? Why talk about context when it may get in the way of a cheap shot at Harry, or is he perceived not to have used his tone of voice to convey his intention?

    Obviously the BBC is not above getting a kick out of stirring up **** for no good reason.

  • Comment number 5.

    From the link to "our own coverage"
    "In a statement the Army said: "The Army does not tolerate inappropriate behaviour in any shape or form," a spokesperson for the force added. "


    While I in no way condone the words of Prince Harry, I feel he is being held to double standards.

    Will the Army also take action against every other soldier heard using these words ..... we won't have much of an army left.

    These stories simply detract from the real issues, which are how to improve the security situation worldwide, and also imrove the lives of the Afghanis and Iraqis.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is not the key here the words "When the News of the World broke the Prince Harry story ... ".

    The question, surely, should centre on the BBC's editorial decision in running with the story at all. With respect, justifying the use of "the word" merely obscures this point.

    You allude to questions being raised by viewers as to why you gave this story so much coverage, but do not respond to that.

    Other, perhaps, than a brief mention in passing, what was the point of your coverage? The word was used in private three years ago between, as it were, consenting adults.

    So, please - why give it coverage at all??

  • Comment number 7.

    About 10.30 Saturday night, the next day's front pages started to come through, and it was just two in particular that made a huge hoohaa about this:

    The News of the World led with HARRY'S RACIST VIDEO SHAME.

    The Mail on Sunday also shrieked across its front page HARRY 'PAKI' VIDEO STORM.

    The interesting - and revealing - thing is, by that point on Saturday night, there WAS no storm - because most people still knew nothing about it!

    The only 'storm' was the one cooked up by those on the right seeking to make it a storm because they knew they could then take the "PC gone mad" angle and run with it - commentators, commenters, etc. An examination of the usual sources bears that out, with comment after comment banging on about "this PC culture" and how "we're scared to say what we really think" etc etc.

    Since the weekend, as the story has spread, it's again been the right wing press who have shown the biggest obsession with continuing the story they started. Who'd have thought it - the right-wing press more concerned with racism than the left.

    Or maybe not.

    In actual fact, very very few people appear to have taken any offense (the odd "useful idiot" has been wheeled out to make predictable comments, like that spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain), but they really are just 'the odd person'. Clearly we are NOT in the grip of an influx of minorities all having "taken offence" at things - even though that plays into the right-wing narrative.

    That will obviously disappoint all those who love nothing more than playing the role of victim to the scourge of political correctness.

    However... I sometimes wonder if the BBC make things worse in these circumstances by obsessing itself over the notion of offending. I think there's no doubt that you mean well, but going on about it can end up backfiring and handing the real stirrers the ammunition they need.

    The fact that the Murdoch and Dacre empires were so quick to run with this story and elevate it to the status of "STORM" - even before there was one - says it all. The fact that so many of their readers have been inundating their website comment areas with PC-gone-mad type bleatings is an indication of who are the real ones seeking to play the victim card in these affairs. And it's not who they think it is.

  • Comment number 8.

    Any name, nickname or other can be used in a derogatory way.
    I am English by right and British by involvement.
    I am a husband by marriage and a partner by insinuation.

  • Comment number 9.

    The 'P' word like many other words, terms, and insiginia have been hijacked by extreme political elements and racists. It's time we took them back. In itself the 'P' word has no real meaning; its use has been corrupted like so many others.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Two things:
    - Your use was in an editorial context and therefore justifable.

    - People who were discussing the issue on your Have Your Say page should have been allowed to use it in the editorial context. To ask people to discuss the issue and then ban them from using it was foolhardy at best, and plain foolish overall. The shame was on you then.

    As for the story itself - a waste of time and you dragged yourself into the gutter by not giving people who found the use of the word acceptable by Harry in the context that it was used by Harry. That includes people like myself who according to all the reports should have been most offended because of my background.

  • Comment number 12.

    "And the strong views expressed on all sides probably indicate that, one way or another, it was a story well worth covering."

    I see. So if there are strong views that the story has been blown up out of all proportion, it's well worth covering?

  • Comment number 13.

    "Presenters were told not to over-use the word and to convey, through their tone of voice, that the words, particularly "Paki", are controversial."

    Whoever was reading the news on Radio 2 on Sunday morning did this exceptionally well. I thought at the time this obviously difficult point had been very perfectly.

  • Comment number 14.

    Normally I love stories like this about the Royals. I'm an ardent republican and love almost anything that shows the Royals in a ridiculous light.

    In this case, however, I have no problem taking Harry's side. Let's look at a few facts. The video was taken 3 years ago, so it's hardly news. Secondly, there's no evidence that the soldier referred to was remotely offended. Nobody other than him matters in this regard. Given that's he's not even in the British Army, it would presumably have been easier than for most for him to complain if he were offended. Because of this unfortunate lack of complaint, the BBC and others had to dredge up some "uncle" to express family outrage.

    Secondly, the video also apparently included a spoof phone call to Her Maj, where Harry was being disrespectful from what I can gather from the reporting. So why isn't there a "storm" about this? Why aren't we hearing calls for Harry to be charged with treason? Well, that would hardly bolster the PC lobby, would it?

    Thirdly, let's just consider what Harry has been doing recently, and compare versus the Muslim PC lobby. The latter have been getting very concerned about Harry's use of a term which, I agree, is often used in a most derogatory and unacceptable manner. Harry, meanwhile, after not being allowed to serve in Iraq, worked with MoD and the media to ensure he could serve in Afghanistan. His role was that of a "proper soldier", not just an excuse to play in the dressing up box as with his father's military "career", for instance. So, he's taken real risks in support of Britain's security interests. Risks that allow all the rest of us, including "Muslim community leaders" to have the freedom to slag off Harry and the rest of his family with little risk of retribution.

    I don't claim to have knowledge of how the entire British Muslim community feels about Harry's video. All I can say is that my own Muslim friends, not for the first time, are more embarrassed by those claiming leadership of their own community that they are of Harry's comments. I suspect the only Muslims offended by Harry are the 2,000 or so that MI5 is actively tracking due to their perceived threat as terrorists.

    Finally, I think it's disgraceful that the government, including Brown, have criticised Harry. The response to criticism should have been very clear: it happened three years ago; it isn't news; Harry is a respected member of the Army who has served in a front-line role in Afghanistan; anyone offended by his video should just get over it. Brown & Co ought to be going ballistic at St James's Palace for issuing any kind of apology. None was required.

  • Comment number 15.

    Brilliant B.B.C!
    I make a post concerning a former Pakistan High-Commisioner's vehicle registration being number being the same as the word Harry used "PAK 1" (more recently altered to the much more congenial "1 PAK" and, because I don't insert a space, your own censor flags it as a problem word.
    Well I'm not writing it all out again.
    However, I will just mention the Pakistani community website, "www.paki.com" and the double-standards at work that seem to be at work in this tale.
    I have been a 'POM' to Australians for many years and never taken offence from it.
    I hope that I'm neither racist nor royalist, but I do find P.C. Britain rather irksome these days.
    Why can't people get thicker skins and GROW UP!

  • Comment number 16.

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  • Comment number 17.

    9. G0ng00zle

    You're so right. And your post reminded me of the "chant of choice" of English football hooligans at Euro 2002, which was: "I'd rather be a Paki than a Turk". I think the chant was aimed at Turkish workers/residents in Holland, but who knows?

    Paki has become derogatory because of its use by racists, ie the manner of its use. Presumably, if they actually had enough brainpower, they could remove every word from the English language simply by using each one in turn in the same way. Clearly, they did not use "Turk" often enough, or for long enough, in a way consistent with racist behaviour in 2002, or the BBC would have been struggling to describe people of Turkish ethnicity ever since.

    We shouldn't pander to these people. To the extent any word is used in order to give offence, then let's go after the people doing it (a bit off topic, but nice to see 11 people have now been charged in relation to racist and homophobic chanting at Sol Campbell during the Portsmouth/Spurs game). But to translate this into ALL people using certain words or phrases are automatically deemed to be insensitive/racist etc, simply aids the racists' cause.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its strange how the BBC have given the Prince Harry story so much repeated coverage and yet have totally ignored a racist attack on an English woman in Scotland.
    She was punched in the face for being English and left with two black eyes and a broken cheekbone!

    http://bit.ly/i04K

    [Broken link removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 19.

    Like many words, 'Pakistani' has four sylables and is a 'tongue twister' in English useage. Such words are always shortened, but not always as a form of abuse (consider the word 'Afro', for example).

    Certainly the Royal family do not use such words intending abuse, even when most other people associate them in that way. However, they do use them as a patronizing 'term of endearment' applied to people who may be nice, but are considered one's social inferiors. That IS objectionable.

    This was actually the common attitude of the middle and upper classes before World War Two- one also applied to their servants. The 'N' word was used this way too. A Rolls Royce marketed in 1936 came in a delightful shade of 'N---- Brown'. The term would hardly have been used to sell a Luxury car if it was associated with racial abuse as it is now. The simple fact is that the Royal family still live in a cocoon: an extrordinary time-warp, revealing attitudes that have not been appropriate for 50 years. Today, the assumption of patronizing social superiority is considered just as objectional as agressive racism has always been.

  • Comment number 20.

    @Home Rule For England

    Three things:

    (1) You're wrong. It went up yesterday on the BBC (before the Daily Mail):
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/7826264.stm

    (2) I'm sure the BBC don't report on every single racist attack on Asian and black people either - in fact we know they can't possibly do that as there are so many. The only difference is, you won't find those particular racist attacks reported in the Daily Mail too often.

  • Comment number 21.

    Our country is has gone overboard with political correctness. This entire whole fiasco with Princes Charles and Harry has been blown way out of proportion.
    Yes the name "Paki" can be seen as a hurtful term by asian brits. But I believe Harry's comments were not ill meaning, merely endearing, as is Prince Charles's name for his old friend: "Sooti".
    I have friends of african descent who jokingly call eachother the "n" word. Is that right?
    The fact that our royal family are friendly and welcoming to the ethnic minorities of this country is a great sign.
    A final word... my husband is a scot living in England and is frequently called a "sweaty sock". Could the media investigate and cover a story on prejudice between native britons?

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    weretoopc:

    Our country is has gone overboard with political correctness. This entire whole fiasco with Princes Charles and Harry has been blown way out of proportion.

    So how do you explain that it was the two papers most known for whingeing about political correctness (and using words like 'fiasco') who first broke this story, reporting a 'storm' before there was one? How do you explain not only that these papers broke the 'storm' but that these same right-wing so-called "anti-PC" newspapers are still jumping all over every new development? I totally agree it's out of proportion, but shouldn't you take your comments over there? This story is overwhelmingly being continued by the Daily Mail "PC gone mad" brigade. It's almost as if... they're enjoying it, wallowing in their self-made victimhood! Now there's a thing!

    megascarything,
    Prince Harry was in a group of friends, army lads doing politically incorrect stuff for their mutual amusement. He had nothing to apologise for. All this publicity is ridiculous.

    Agreed. So the right-wing press shouldn't have launched the whole furore, and the BBC shouldn't have made such a huge deal in running with it.

    [NB. While I'm here, I might as well admit the mistake in my earlier post #20 - yes it was meant to say two things, not three. I apologise. Now let's see if 'Home Rule For England' apologises for his/her mistake... ]

  • Comment number 24.

    This country has gone pc mad. I was in Dunelm yesterday and the assistant - NOT ME - brought up the issue. She said it was terribly to berate Harry for his affectionate nickname to a fellow solder.

    After all these people trained together with fight together and may die together. This is not just somebody going up to someone in the street and hurling racist abuse. Believe me that happens a lot - I have heard it.

    Now poor old Charles or is it his father Philip - calling somebody Sooty - well, the anti Royalists will have a field day.

    Come on, let's not waste our time with this storm in a tea cup. You can call me Pommy, Limey, Brit, Toff, I don't care, I am happy in my own skin (which happens to be white) and I would think most people are.

    It's only when it hits a nerve with somebody and they would secretly like to be other than they are, that they take offence and throw the racial card.

    Forget and move on.

  • Comment number 25.

    Here we have a major broadcasting organisation in a previously democratic nation, frightened to use a single word.


    Personally I think it is a more interesting comment about power than offensiveness.

    As a pale male I can be offended by anyone, any time they fancy. I am offended most days. No one cares. Even I don't care anymore.

    Other groups in the disunited kingdom have so much political power that to offend them will be national news.

    This is why a single word can be banned.


    People do need to be careful: there have been criminal convictions for the use of the 'P' word, like the 'N' word. ( 'N' word - there's the power thing again)

  • Comment number 26.

    Comment for PM. programme

    Whatever one thinks of Prince Harry's video, I am surprized that no-one has commented that It was made 3years ago FOR PRIVATE CONSUMPTION and some mischief-maker has released it to the News of the World, probably for profit and for their own agenda. It is these people who have caused the trouble, not Prince Harry and his friend.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    I meant to elaborate: the assistant in Dunelm was an Indian and said she is often referred to as a Paki but she feels no offence or resentment.

    This has compounded racial tension and fear people have of speaking as they would normally.

    I don't, incidentally, hear any Jewish people complaining about being called "four by twos" or other so-called minorities complaining - the list goes on and the issue cannot be resolved and can border on hysteria.

    Come to think of it, we have become quite hysterical as a nation at the moment and I don't mean that in the humourous sense - perhaps I should have said "hyper".

  • Comment number 29.

    Well a large part of the reason why the nation appears to have become hysterical (or "hyper") is surely down to the incessant panic and constant outrage of people prone to repeating ad nauseum "this country has gone pc mad... this country has gone pc mad..."

    If you repeat it often enough...

    Yes of course there are incidents of oversensitivity, yes there will always be individual stories to be dug up that feature some person or group complaining about being offended when it's all a bit silly, yes the BBC can unwittingly contribute to the culture of oversensitivity at times by trying not to alienate anyone and using words with extra caution - but the majority of this PC-gone-mad impression is manufactured by the very press that complains about it - AS HAPPENED HERE.

    As has been said, most Asians/Muslims/gays/(insert minority group here) - are not bothered by these things, and the story is about a kind of phantom offence. ("in case it offends...")

    Indeed plenty of these staple PC-gone-mad/in-case-it-offends... -type stories have been shown to be utter nonsense. Peter Hitchens got to the bottom of a few in a programme he made a while back. Complete balderdash, it seems, and yet the average Sun/Mail/Express reader - where this tosh swills around - will be completely unaware of it.

    Really, let's just keep some perspective, instead of just swallowing whatever anti-PC story we've been spoonfed, whether it's Coronation Street "banning the cross" or whatever other such nonsense.

    We. Have. Not. Gone. PC. Mad.

    Some of us just try a bit too hard to please at times.
    Some of us go a bit silly sometimes.

    In short, stop reading the DM, and chill. It's not that bad.

  • Comment number 30.

    I cannot agree that the word in question can possibly be in any way derogatory when the online pakistani community use the very same word to refer to themselves.

    Until I saw www.paki.com I thought the word paki could be, in certain context, be offensive. It appears that is not the case...unless, apparently, you have an axe to grind or a very slow news day.

  • Comment number 31.

    Load of fuss about nothing. The BBC's priorities?

    1. Gaza. Total media saturation.
    2. Harry. Fuss over nothing. Let's not risk offending anyone.
    3. Troughing, incompetent, politicians
    4. Out of touch politicians
    5. Our troops involvement in Afghanistan.

    The BBC should hang its head in shame.

    The more I hear of Harry, the more I like him.

  • Comment number 32.

    There's a very simple way to solve this - ask the soldier concerned if he thought it was offensive.

    We can't judge their relationship on the use of one phrase in a video clip. I've made disparaging jokes about my friends (as they have about me) that would seem highly offensive to a casual eavesdropper. There's no objective list of what is and what isn't offensive as it all depends on context.

    edit: I had a nice example about use of the "n-word" but it ironically fell foul of the filter.

    For example, I'm happy to type "The word 'nxxxxx' is often used as a racial slur", but I feel an overwhelming urge to self-censor if I type "All n****** are criminals" so that people don't think that it's my genuine opinion.

    We also need to remember that the sense of humour shared by the average soldier probably isn't going to be appreciated by the majority of the complaint-writing population.

    If we judged doctors by their banter in the pub after a hard day at work, we'd label them all psychopaths who like to laugh at sick and dying people.

  • Comment number 33.

    The issue was not the use of the word, but the coverage of the non-story at all.

    To think we are bothered about the words is to miss the point. We are bothered it was on the news at all.

  • Comment number 34.

    i would have thought the BBC would be above this stupidity but I was wrong.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Peter Horrocks:

    Re: Prince Harry Words and the BBC coverage

    I am very glad and grateful that the BBC and the staff on the platforms, try their best to keep the words usage in limited use............

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 37.

    My wife is black. If I use the N word to describe her, will the BBC devote hours of news coverage to it?

    Was the demo in London in which a British Muslim said that Israel should no longer exist given as much attention as Prince Harry's comments by the BBC? I can't find any references to it, but the video is on YouTube.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Did any one interview the pakistani officer that it was directed at was he truamatized becouse of it did he put in a complaint or did he go into a depression and loose his job or sue prince harry ?

    No as most of us with friends of differant ethnic back grounds took it as it was meant a bit of banter between freinds.

    Was this story put out to cover for the coverment who sliped another tax on us.
    ( put this story out it will keep them occupied and then we will tax the people they wont know what hit them till its to late.)

  • Comment number 40.

    I do not see why the BBC picked up on a 'news' story that was three years old and published by a "rag" newspaper in order to cause embarrassment to the Royal Family and to line the pockets of an unscrupulous individual (judas) who felt it his 'duty' to rake up something that everyone else had forgotten about or never even bothered about at the time. What a pity the BBC did not act so promptly when Jonathon Ross committed his obscene offence over the air to Andrew Sachs. Methinks your double standards are beginning to show.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    The original story carried by TNOTW was just selling a newspaper. It was preaching to its own and proving just how easy it is to get the politically correct lobby going. The plan worked so predictably and easily because "we are PC mad".

    This isn't a story about insensitivity or racism and was never intended to be. It was just one of many designed to show just how stupid the UK has become. Running scared of a word that started, like many, as shortened slang for someone from Pakistan. Leave out the context in which it was said, the person who said it, and the person to whom it was directed, and open a hornets' nest of invective, offense, and "play acted" horror. TNOTW were laughing all the way to their circulation figures because the PC brigade got to work on cue.

    The BBC has to remind their presenters not to say the word in the wrong way (have to be reminded for pity sakes!), a HYS item forbids you to repeat the word, and an editorial blog springs into action to defend the carriage of the story. And we are not OTT PC???

    I wonder just what the BBC would have made of it had the "victim" been called "cesspit" or something similar? TNOTW (and others) have been setting up the PC brigade like this for a very long time. Please tell me you are going to get wise to it soon. Stop being so darned PC BBC.

  • Comment number 43.

    #40

    Absolutely. The double standards committed by those in power (not just the BBC), and the failure to demonstrate common sense in the face of "irritating" journalism is becoming an embarrassment to an allegedly intelligent society. It seems that dumbing down has spread more rapidly than a killer virus especially amongst those sanctimonious PC people. Since when has it been wise to censor words in common usage when applied in a chatty and friendly way? Since when has it been wise to eavesdrop on every private conversation in case someone has said something that may cause offense to someone else?

    This Government is collecting our emails, watching us on CCTV, restricting our freedoms at every turn and the BBC has the darned cheek to pick this nonsense as a story. You are here to represent ALL your license payers not those who sit in the Palace of Westminster. And if just one of those people thinks that "Paki" is an OK word then what do you say to them BBC?

  • Comment number 44.

    I was also reading the blog about News at Ten and quite frankly I cannot tell the difference between BBC and ITV other than adverts since they report exactly the same things - why doesn't one of them take a stand sometime (radical though it may be) and decide NOT to report on something since it does not consider it newsworthy( as in this case), or as a minimum marginalise something. As an example why tell us every day how terrible the economy is. We already know we are in a mess and compounding it every day is not going to help anybody. What happened to the balanced view?

  • Comment number 45.

    stapes62,

    why doesn't one of them take a stand sometime (radical though it may be) and decide NOT to report on something since it does not consider it newsworthy

    Because they fear that viewers would immediately switch over to the other side to hear about a story that is "already on the news agenda" (a news agenda largely set by the day's tabloids) but not being covered by the Beeb.

    And the depressing thing is, that's probably not far off what would happen.

    (It's not just the governments we get that we deserve)

  • Comment number 46.

    What a waste of news space. People in the armed services have always given their comrades nicknames, which those outside might find offensive if applied to them.
    A ridiculous example of this is in the film 'Dambusters' where Guy Gibson's labrador was given a different name so as not to offend.

  • Comment number 47.

    This item is typical of the dumbed down politically biased standards shown by the BBC news team that no longer attempt to undertake any real journalism. Rather than attempt to justify inclusion Mr Horrocks you should carry out a root and branch investigation of your whole production process or get the BBC Trust to do so.

  • Comment number 48.

    #45

    The problem with audience figures is what do they show? News programs (especially at 10pm) generally happen after a must see and so there are plenty who may listen to the headlines and then they are off to make tea etc etc.

    And as for fear I am afraid I could not agree less. The whole media market (including advertising) is about exploiting margins not about attempting to hijack a massive proportion of your opponents audience. There is absolutely no evidence that carrying a "unique" aspect of news is likely to kill a program dead. The reason why neither side do so is because they do not need to. As long as they hold on to their core support they are doing OK (as suggested in the lead).

    The real issue here is should the BBC be competing at all. I can remember the brilliant current affairs programs that the BBC once produced but have sadly gone out of fashion. That is how you compete - you show something that your opponent is not showing.

  • Comment number 49.

    Give the lad a break. This whole episode (in addition to the "German" incident) is a cynical attempt by the media to draw a link to some of the previous choice comments of his grandfather, who lets be honest, grew up among a generation where far worse was spoken on a national basis. He works for the military for goodness sake, which is the school of harsh lanuage. No-one can condone a racist, but those sensationalists of you who really think a couple of stupid comments make Harry a racist surely also think that all male Sun-readers are sexists...? As for the BBC, I guess that (only) in the interests of what the competition are doing, it had no alternative to report it...

  • Comment number 50.

    Most of you lot have repeated my concerns made in my complaint about the Corporations approach, coverage and - perhaps perceived - stance on this story.

    Two of those already mentioned issues come to mind ...

    Firstly, it was comforting to read that I wasn’t the only viewer concerned about the inevitable rollout of the - Are they really representing, or Presenting? - representatives. Secondly, it appears that I am not entirely alone in questioning the fairness and equality of community ownership of the term “paki” when the term is used in a non-derogatory manner. If the context is correct we should not pick and choose as to whom has, or does not have, the right of usage.

    However ....

    Three aspects of my original complaint, although two are mentioned by others, still needs airing .... No pun intended.

    Is the questioning of Harry’s intelligence, as opined by an interviewed community representative, not worthy of considerable broadcast-minutes of discussion, analysis and tape-loops due to it’s almost total lack of importance. As per Harrys Gaff. (To be fair, the duty news reader handled the live interview very professionally but, Oh, it would have been interesting had the news reader questioned the foundation of the interviewee’s belief.)

    Does the editorial approach at the Corporation need to be reviewed in particular with regard to what is ‘News’ and what is ‘magazine’ content? ( Am I alone in thinking that both have become conjoined, confused, and symbiotic. ..... Oh.... If ever a microscope were needed.)

    Did the story really have to take precedence over the Palestinian Holocaust? (Did the story REALLY ..... )


    That said .....


    I will not be surprised if I were to be heavily criticised for using the two words Palestinian and Holocaust side by side, but, as asked, does anyone have the ownership of language when used in context?

  • Comment number 51.

    Why on earth were you agonising over whether to use the words? If it were the F-word or C-word, I could perhaps understand it (although I'd still prefer to see them used if merely reporting that they'd been used by someone else). But the two words he used (and I daren't use them here, because, sure as eggs is eggs, someone will strike out my comment!) are really D List stuff. I wouldn't expect you, the BBC, to use the words in relation to someone, but there's a big difference between that and their being used as reportage. What on earth were you thinking of? And how long will it be before half the informal words in the English language are banned?

  • Comment number 52.

    well i am a pakistani and im proud of it .The word paki is not an abuse it only means pured or we can say [something has been ] purifed so when ever i travlled to England and heard this word i always laughed at the ignorance of my european hosts that in their ignorance they are infact praising me and my coutry that we are pure so how can it be an abuse and as for Prince Harry hes young he needs to study some British history along with some information on languages of asian region.Well bbc is a prestigious news medium and they do balance things nicely

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    44. Quote 'I cannot tell the difference between BBC and ITV other than adverts since they report exactly the same things'.

    Spot on I thought that years ago and its always puzzled me, I mean there must be thousands if not millions of news stories happening everyday around the world but like you say 'they all report the same things'.

    I can understand it with the really big stories but they are lots of big stories around the world we don't hear about, who decides what is news and do the news broadcasters create the news, I think so.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    I still do not believe, if the officer Harry was referring to was black, and the word he used began with an N that the BBC would have spouted the word around so much, and that they wouldn't have cut off anybody saying it on a phone in straight away. I can't see how the P word is any less offensive but is just directed at a newer immigrant population. I'm sure in 20-30 years time they could play back the BBC phone in and people would be as shocked to hear the attitudes expressed by callers as we woudl be by watching Love Thy Neighbour nowadays. You seem to say that wide range of opinions on the word exist, to be frank I would suggest that anyone suggesting it is a harmless mere abbreviation of pakistani, is ignorant in the extreme and BBC policy shouldn't be dictated by such people.

  • Comment number 59.

    How about spelling the word out on air rather than saying it?

  • Comment number 60.

    A classic case of killing the messenger. BBC did right in using the exact verbiage, so there could be no guessing and the full impact of the hurt, and maybe a bit of education for the unknowledgeable among you, could be conveyed.

    Harry said this 3 years ago; one would hope in that time he would have learned that it was a no no to make a record of anything like that coming out of his mouth. It is dismaying to see a royal speak like that for the record, but consider the environ he was in. Frankly, I would hate to be him and have my every gesture dissected in public. Hope he knows better now.

 

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