You may recall the nasty and vicious anti-Catholic diatribe launched by Professor Thomas Crown some weeks ago. You can read about it and my comments here.
Having complained to the Sunday Independent with no response (they're supposed to reply within two weeks to formal complaints under the Press Code) I complained to the Press Ombudsman.
First they lost the email. Ok, that can happen. So I wrote again. They turned around a response very quickly:
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:46:52 +0000
I refer again to the complaint that you submitted to this Office about an article published in the Sunday Independent on l9 May 2013.
As you know, for a complaint to be considered by this Office it must be accompanied by sufficient evidence of a possible breach of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines (copy attached for ease of reference). In this regard, this Office notes that you feel that the article in question breached Principle 8 of the Code because of your belief that the tone and content of the article was intended to and likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against Catholics.
The Preamble to the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines, which is an integral part of the Code, sets out the basic values on which the Code of Practice is based and, in a number of important matters, indicates clearly how these Principles are to be applied. Under the Code, newspapers and magazines are entitled to advocate strongly their own views on topics. They are therefore free to publish articles containing opinions or comments, so long as such opinions or comments do not otherwise present evidence of a breach of the Code. Such articles frequently give offence, but this in itself is not evidence of a breach of the Code.
The column about which you complain was a comment article, and as such enjoys a wide measure of protection under the provision of the Preamble, which states:
“The freedom to publish is vital to the right of the people to be informed. This freedom includes the right of a newspaper to publish what it considers to be news, without fear or favour, and the right to comment on it.”
I am sorry that this Office cannot be of more assistance to you on this occasion.
So, essentially, the preamble to the code completely negates the rest of the code.