Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catching up with Féile an Phobail - human rights, journalism, a tabloid public debate, and Leveson

Féile an Phobail - West Belfast Festival - logoOver on Slugger O'Toole you can catch up on some details about events this week at the Féile an Phobail festival.

Monday lunchtime's panel on Human Rights and Journalism - an annual event sponsored by Amnesty NI - that looked at public inquiries, the importance of whistleblowing and the increasingly reluctance of people to talk to the press, financial pressures restricting investigative journalism, and the risk of journalists lapsing into campaigning.

Wednesday evening's West Belfast Talks Back turned tabloid with a fractious panel of George Galloway (Respect MP), Gregory Campbell (DUP MP and MLA), Ruth Dudley Edwards (commentator) and Gerry Kelly (Sinn Fein MLA) in a packed St Louise's College assembly hall.

You can listen back to the night's debate as well as read my summary of the subjects including Israel/Palestine, offensive media comments made by unionist politicians about homosexuality, George Galloway's definition of perversion, proscribing the Orange Order and differing opinions on the actions of a loyalist band outside a chapel in July, the continued detention/internment of Marian Price, and whether Sean Quinn deserved public support.

Finally, media commentator, academic and journalist Roy Greenslade spoke about the build up to and consequences of the Leveson Inquiry on Friday lunchtime in the Falls Road library. You can listen to his lecture along with the Q&A session afterwards, as well as my interview with him afterwards.

Given the English press' historic "reliance on official sources", their "failure to investigate collusion", "the acceptance of secret service dirty tricks" and "the influence of the police on journalists" writing about Irish stories, he was not surprised "that these newspapers that were willing to do that when dealing with this particular part of the world should have got themselves into trouble".

Afterwards he gave a quick opinion on the state of the local NI press industry as well as his view (as a resident of Donnegal and Brighton) on the recent dissident rebranding and regrouping.

The last word should go to one of his MA students and the wise words she penned in a recent essay:
“most ethical dilemmas in the media are a struggle between conscience and revenue”

1 comment:

ItwasSammyMcNally said...


Just listened to West Belfast talks - excellent stuff.

George Galloway was as ever spiffing, perhaps I missed it but he didn't seem to get a chance to answer on the question of the Orange Order - which he as some form in the Scottish courts?