Checks and Balances
374/2020 – A Family and The Irish Times
The Irish Times released an article surrounding those who have passed from the Corona Virus. The article named four patients who had passed.
The child of one of those who had passed wrote to the paper. They stated that they had not given permission for their mother’s name to be used and that they “had every legitimate expectation to believe that our mother’s medical details, including her name, would not become public property”. They added that the article was “deeply distressing” to those close to her.
The family complained to the Office of the Press Ombudsman that Principle 5 of the Code of Practice had been broken.
The times we are living in are difficult enough without the media being insensitive to those effected in such a horrible way. A journalist should never be insensitive in their work for the sake of making a story more “interesting”. If this were to happen again, the paper should respect the family’s privacy during the difficult time and ensure they had full permission of the family to speak on their lost loved one.
582/2020 – A Woman and the Sunday World
The Sunday World released an article about the location of a man that had only recently released from prison, after being accused of sexually assaulting his wife’s daughters. A photograph of the man was released into the press, which included an image of his house and his wife. The wife’s identity was hidden by her being pixelated. The woman claims that the paper had also written lies about her regarding CCTV footage installed in her home.
When the woman contacted the Sunday World, they left her no response. She had to take the issue further to the Press Council.
From a journalistic perspective, the paper obviously should have acknowledged the woman’s concerns, as disregard for this reflects badly upon the paper once taken further. It was unnecessary for the Sunday World to bring the woman’s business into the article, as it was the man the public were concerned with.
375/2020 – A Woman and The Southern Star
The Southern Star released an article on a court case in which the complainant faced several charges. The newspaper stated that a woman was ordered to pay a fine to the court charity but had her charges dropped under the Probation Act.
The woman complained that there were a number of inaccuracies in the court report and called on the newspaper to apologise for their actions. She said the title of the article was false, she had not been arrested, she had not been charged with reckless driving, she had not been charged with threatening and abusive behavior and that she had not refused to make a statement.
It is important for a journalist to get the full story when reporting on a court case. Twisting the story to create a dramatic feel is never the way to go. This would highlight to journalists the importance of telling the truth when it comes to their writing.