The Courier-Mail has taken the unusual step of publishing a statement of its intention not to cause offence to readers in response to criticism of its front page treatment this week of the grotesque murder of a transsexual sex worker by her husband.
The newspaper, which was awarded 2014 Newspaper of the Year, has been criticised for insensitivity towards the transgender and sex worker communities by its treatment, as well as domestic violence victims in its coverage of the case.
The story, on the Brisbane murder of Indonesian-born Mayang Prasetyo by chef Marcus Volke, bore the headline “Monster Chef and the She-Male”.
Marcus Volke had murdered, dismembered and cooked parts of Ms Prasetyo, before being interrupted by police. He died from self-inflicted wounds as he fled from police officers.
The front page led to the lodging of complaints with the Australian Press Council and an online petition generated by activists that has gathered more than 20,000 signatures.
The Courier-Mail issued a statement in today’s edition under the headline, “Victim’s memory should be valued”.
It said: “Mayang Prasetyo was the innocent victim of a horrendous crime, killed by the man she should have been able to trust the most.
“She should be remembered – as we reported yesterday – for her cheerful and friendly disposition, and for the care she showed her family and loved ones in Indonesia.
“Many believe that yesterday we presented Mayang’s story in a way that was disrespectful to her memory.
“The Courier-Mail had no intention of diminishing the value of Mayang’s life, or to add to the grief being felt by her family.”
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