Irish Traveller Movement and the Evening Herald

Friday, 7th September 2012
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The Press Council of Ireland has decided to uphold a complaint by the Irish Traveller Movement that the publication of a previous decision on a complaint it made about an article in the Evening Herald on 14 September 2011 was in breach of Principle 10 of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines (Publication of the decisions of the Press Ombudsman and the Press Council) because it was not published with due prominence.

This complaint was referred to the Council by the Press Ombudsman.

The original decision of the Press Ombudsman, which was upheld by the Council following an appeal by the newspaper, referred to an article about travellers and crime published in the Evening Herald on the date cited. The Press Ombudsman decided that the article was in breach of Principle 2 (Distinguishing Fact and Comment) of the Code because the material published presented quite inadequate verification of the generalisations it contained about Travellers or of the statement in the headline that the law feared to tackle traveller gangs.

He also decided that the article was in breach of Principle 8 (Prejudice), because the opinions in the article were expressed in a way that inadequately distinguished between Traveller gangs and the community of Travellers in general, and because this caused grave offence to many people on the basis of their membership of the travelling community.

The complainants pointed out that the decision had not been given due prominence in accordance with Principle 10 of the Code because it had not been published on the same day of the week – Wednesday - as the original article, but on a Saturday, a day when the paper had a much smaller circulation. The newspaper responded that the decision to publish the decision on a different day of the week had been taken because of production requirements.

The Council decided that the requirement of Principle 10 to publish a decision “with due prominence” had not been satisfied by the newspaper’s decision to publish the decision on a different day of the week, and the complaint was therefore upheld.

The Council also decided that this decision should be published on a Wednesday.

07 September 2012