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Press watchdog resolves complaint over ‘kill for Ireland’ story

IPSO_logo_newA complaint by a political activist against a regional daily over claims that his views were driven by “hatred” has been resolved by the press watchdog.

Martin Galvin complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over a piece in the Belfast Telegraph headlined: “Martin Galvin: He may be older, but his hatred remains intact”

Mr Galvin claimed the paper had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in the article, which he said contained prejudicial and pejorative references to his being Irish-American, and to Irish-Americans more generally.

He identified what he believed to be inaccuracies in the article – that he “liked people to kill for Ireland”, that his political viewpoint was based on “hatred” and that he was involved in raising money for US arms shipments.

Mr Galvin, an Irish-American who is a former director of the pro-republican fund-raising organisation NORAID, also said that the article had misrepresented the contents of an interview which he had previously given to The Guardian newspaper.

With regard to Clause 2, the complainant said that he had contacted the editor following publication of the article and was refused the request of an opportunity to reply.

The Bel Tel believed that its article was accurate and did not contain any of the inferences identified by the complainant, nor did it include any prejudicial or pejorative references to his race. However, it offered to publish a letter from the complainant, in response to the article.

After mediation by IPSO, Mr Galvin said an offer to publish a full-length opinion piece would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

In a separate case, James Simpson complained to IPSO that The Nottingham Post breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article which implied he had been the assailant in a court case reported on by the newspaper, when in fact he had been the victim.

The Post apologised for the inaccuracy, which it said was caused by human error. It had previously published a correction, and offered to re-publish this in print and online.

After IPSO mediated correspondence between the two parties, it was decided the apology and correction would be sufficient.