Decided by the Press Ombudsman

His Excellency Boaz Modai, Ambassador of Israel, and The Irish Times

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Posted on: 13-Feb-2015
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On 2 September on an inside page The Irish Times carried a report under the heading “Vista of devastation: apartment buildings, a hospital and factories flattened”. The article opened on a description of the damage that an Israeli military attack had inflicted on a centre for autistic and Down syndrome children in Gaza.  The report stated that the centre had received a warning from the Israeli army that it was to be destroyed because a Hamas rocket launcher had been detected on its roof.  It was reported that the centre said it was not possible for there to be a Hamas rocket launcher on its roof as the building was secured and no one had entered it.  Despite the denial the building was attacked.  The reporter interviewed the founder of the centre, explained how it had been funded and how many children had been treated in the centre.  She went to the roof of the centre and reported that she could find no evidence of a Hamas rocket launcher.  She reported that the centre was 3 km from the Israeli border.  She reported that there was an Israeli imposed buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the border and that this buffer zone deprived Palestinians of 44% of their land. The article then went onto to report on various Palestinian factories which had been destroyed by the Israeli Defence Forces.

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His Excellency Boaz Modai, Ambassador of Israel, and The Irish Times

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Posted on: 13-Feb-2015
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On 4 September 2014 The Irish Times published a report under the heading “Trauma and grief the Israeli legacy in blitzed Ground Zero of Gaza offensive”.  The report was an account of the impact on a village, called Khuza’a, in the Gaza Strip of the military bombardment by the Israeli Defence Forces.  The report included interviews with some of the 10,000 residents of the village, including relatives of those killed and injured.

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His Excellency Boaz Modai, Ambassador of Israel, and The Irish Times

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Posted on: 13-Feb-2015
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On Saturday 6 September 2014 The Irish Times published a lengthy report under the headline “What next for Hamas?” The report initially concentrated on Palestinians’ reactions to the military incursions by the Israeli Defence Forces into Gaza. It included the views of a Palestinian lawyer who had founded a Centre for Human Rights, an engineer and owner of several factories that had been destroyed in the conflict, the director general of the health ministry and a professor of political science. The report then went on to deal with the wider context of Israeli and Middle Eastern politics and the international response to the latest conflict. The report also provided some historical context to the continuous conflict going back to 1948 and the establishment of the Israeli State.  In particular the report   looked at the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his attitude to the “two-State” solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Included in the report were controversial remarks on the subject of rape attributed to a lecturer in Arabic Literature at Bar-Ilan University.

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Mr Sean Fitzgerald and the Sunday World

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Posted on: 13-Feb-2015
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On 14 September 2014 the Sunday World published a report under the headline “Smokey and the bandit”.  Mr Sean Fitzgerald complained that the article breached Principle 1 (Truth and Accuracy), Principle 2 (Distinguishing Fact and Comment), Principle 3 (Fairness and Honesty) and Principle 4 (Respect for Rights)   of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines. Mr Fitzgerald based his complaint on a reference to him in the report that he had called a person named in the article asking for cash. Mr Fitzgerald stated in his complaint that this was completely untrue. He claimed that the reference to him was from a third party and that it was not accurate, and this was therefore a breach of Principle 1.  Mr Fitzgerald further claimed that Principle 2 had been breached because the reporter had been “inappropriately influenced by someone who is making false claims”.  He went on to claim that Principle 3 had been breached because the reporter “did not confirm with the person making the false claim” whether it was his voice or not on the call that made the request for money.  He claimed that Principle 4 had been breached as the article was “based on malicious and unfounded accusations by a third party” and the facts had not been checked before publication.

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Dr David Abrahamson and The Irish Times

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Posted on: 11-Feb-2015
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The Irish Times published in its Arts and Books section on Saturday 13 September an article which reviewed a number of books on the topic of the Middle East and in particular Israeli and Palestinian relations.  The heading on the review was “Fear and Loathing: Palestinians pay the price of history”.  This was followed by a sub-heading “Israel still claims it has no choice but to continue the policies of ethnic cleansing, dispossession and extermination that started with its foundation”.

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A woman and the Irish Examiner

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Posted on: 22-Jan-2015
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A letter was published in the Irish Examiner on 27 November 2014 under the heading “Solicitors’ tribunal only censured solicitor for failing to write a letter”.  The letter was signed by Senator Colm Burke of Colm Burke and Company Solicitors and referred to a report published in the previous day’s Irish Examiner on the findings of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which had found the firm “guilty of misconduct in his practice”. 

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Ms Catherine Garvey and the Clare Champion

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Posted on: 19-Dec-2014
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The Clare Champion published an article giving a short account of a burglary that had taken place in a village in Co. Clare.  The article did not give the identity of those robbed or an address, but reported on the sum of money that had been stolen.  

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Mr Manav Lok and thejournal.ie

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Posted on: 17-Dec-2014
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On 28 November thejournal.ie published a report under the heading “Thousands of animals slaughtered in honour of Hindu Goddess”.  The report described the ritual slaughter of thousands of animals which had taken place in Nepal.  The report was accompanied by four photographs, three of which depicted the carcasses of slaughtered animals. The account was prefaced by a warning “Graphic Content”.  The source of the report, which was credited, was a highly reputable international news agency.

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Mr Gerry Adams and the Sunday Independent

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Posted on: 09-Dec-2014
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On 19 October the Sunday Independent published a decision of the Press Ombudsman, affirmed by the Press Council on appeal, upholding a complaint by Mr Gerry Adams TD that statements in an article published on 18 May under the headline “Adams tries to gag Independent” were in breach of Principles 1 (Truth and Accuracy) and 4 (Respect for Rights) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines. The Press Ombudsman upheld the complaint because he said that a letter sent by Mr Adams’ solicitors to the newspaper could not reasonably be interpreted as trying to “gag” the newspaper or silence its reporting. 

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Ms Marion Coy and the Galway City Tribune

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Posted on: 04-Dec-2014
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The Galway City Tribune on 12 September 2014 published an article under the headline “Who deleted the President’s emails?” with a sub-heading “Explosive findings as new GMIT probe urged into how evidence was destroyed”.  The report concerned an investigation into how Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) had dealt with accusations of plagiarism by a student.  The Galway City Tribune had received extracts from the report of the investigation and its article was based on these extracts.  The opening paragraph stated “Evidence that was relevant to the external investigation into cheating at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) – and a possible cover up of the incident – has been destroyed”.  The article claimed that emails of the President of the Institute at the time of the alleged cheating, Ms Marion Coy, “had been deleted from the college’s IT system” and that the investigators had made it clear that the deleted emails “might be relevant” to their inquiries.  The article claimed this was just one of a “series of explosive revelations” in the investigators’ report.  Further on in the article it was stated that Ms Marion Coy had “retired suddenly” from her position as President of GMIT.

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