In defending broadcasting comedian Frankie Boyle's “joke” about the eight year old disabled son of Katie Price, Channel 4 essentially had this to say: Price had already exploited her son by putting him in the media spotlight, so why shouldn't we? What a rotten, self-serving argument.
You don't have to endorse Price's celebrity antics to recognise that making a joke at the expense of a child is wrong. This is Frankie Boyle’s “humour”: "Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey — eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him." He went on to say some things involving incest and Harvey's size which are not worth repeating.
Defend freedom of speech? Certainly. Stretch the boundaries of “taste” so that artistic freedom can be expanded? Absolutely.
But this was a) not funny; b) deeply unkind. But most importantly it was uncivilised. Children need protection. Because parents aren't always up to that job, all the more reason for there to be “official” social boundaries and norms — the best we can do short of a much more democratically organised and equal society — to protect children.
Frankie Boyle and Channel 4 — leave the kids alone! Pick on someone who deserves your pathetic attempts at public humiliation and low-grade spite.