Authors advised: Avoid the ‘P’ word
The words ‘pig’ and ‘pork’ and even ‘sausages’ are to be avoided if one is writing schoolbooks for the Oxford University Press as they might offend Jews or Muslims.
The ban came to light on Monday – according to this report – on Radio 4’s Today programme during a discussion about free speech.
Presenter Jim Naughtie, whose writer wife Eleanor Updale is in talks with Oxford University Press over an educational book series, said:
I’ve got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author doing something for young people. Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following: ‘Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork’.
Now, if a respectable publisher, tied to an academic institution, is saying you’ve got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some people might be offended, it’s just ludicrous. It is just a joke.
The OUP says its guidelines exist because it needs to make its educational material available to as many people as possible.
A spokesman said:
Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.
Our editorial guidelines are intended to help ensure that the resources that we produce can be disseminated to the widest possible audience.
The London Evening Standard quoted Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood as saying:
That’s ludicrous. That’s absolute, utter nonsense and when people go too far that actually brings the whole discussion into disrepute.
Jewish leaders said their religion prohibits pork being eaten – not the mention of the word.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn