Thursday 18 July 2013

Press Ombudsman - a complete waste of time and money

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.

Yours sincerely

So, essentially, the preamble to the code completely negates the rest of the code.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Liberals in panic over abortion case before the High Court

This story has liberals in a tizzy already, not knowing how to report it and whether to support it.  The headline now reads "Man tells court he fears girlfriend being forced into UK abortion".

The previous headline, now gone, was "Man tries to prevent girlfriend going to UK for abortion".

A man has claimed before the High Court that he fears his pregnant girlfriend is being brought by her family to the UK against her will to undergo an abortion.
The man asked the High Court today for injunctions preventing his girlfriend from leaving the jurisdiction for an abortion until it can be ascertained whether she is acting of her own free will.
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy adjourned the case until Friday morning so that the woman can receive legal advice.

It's an interesting case for a whole barrel of reasons, not least the standing granted by the court to bring a case in the first case.  We'll have to wait and see the outcome.

The most fun you can have as a peeler

This is surely destined to become an iconic press photograph, up there with Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire, and well I can't think of any other examples as it's almost 2am.  Let's have a caption competition in the comment box.

(It's by David Fitzgerald and was in the Belfast Telegraph)

Monday 15 July 2013

US news station channels Karen Patterson

Day 3 of solitary confinement

In common with half of Belfast my wife and family have headed for Donegal, leaving me all alone.  It is now day three.  The mince steak is finished.  The milk is running out, along with the Sugar Puffs.  I'm down to my last seven jam tarts, some party rings and bag of Raspberry Ruffles.  The standard of television has plummeted so I'm back to The West Wing, Season One.

I am remembering to water the newly planted bed plants, which reminds me, apparently clothes horses are completely invisible to the male.  There might be something in it.

My poor wife telephoned me on day two.  "Have you come across a big bag anywhere?".  I hadn't.  Turns out that, while packing everyone else's bag into the car, she forgot to pack her own.  I wonder is it a ploy to get a whole new wardrobe.  I should freeze the credit cards before it's too late.

Saturday 13 July 2013

The Glorious Twelfth

  • It was on the Twelfth,
  • When Nigel Dodds wet himself,
  • In the middle of the Woodvale Road.
  • He was hit by a brick,
  • Wasn't thrown by a Mick,
  • And yet it still wasn't caused by the loyalist protesters, bandsmen, drunken louts or the Orange Order but apparently was the fault of Parades Commission.