Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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NUJ Vindicates Boston College Researcher

NUJ VINDICATES BOSTON COLLEGE RESEARCHER

Following a hearing in London on 24th July 2013, the NUJ Appeals Tribunal upheld an appeal by journalist Anthony McIntyre.

The Appeals Tribunal overturned the findings of a subcommittee of the NUJ’s Ethics Council of 25th March 2013 pursuant to a Rule 24 complaint lodged by Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes which alleged that Mr McIntyre had breached clauses 2, 3 and 4 of the NUJ’s Code of Conduct.

The NUJ Appeals Tribunal found that Mr McIntyre had “no case to answer” and that he had not breached any part of the code as alleged.

The Appeals Tribunal overturned the 6 month suspension and formal reprimand issued by the Ethics Council.

In its decision of 25th March 2013, the Ethics Council subcommittee had found that Mr. McIntyre had breached Clause 2 of the Code of Conduct which requires that a journalist should “strive to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed accurate and fair” as well as Clause 3 which requires that he “do his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies.”

However, the Ethics Council had declined to make a finding of a breach of Clause 4, which requires a journalist to “differentiate between fact and opinion” due to the difficulty the Ethics Council experienced “in differentiating between fact and opinion in reaching a conclusion concerning the publication,” a finding which Mr. McIntyre had described on appeal as “nonsensical.”

The Appeals Tribunal decided indeed that “the matter complained of was clearly an expression of opinion” and concluded that there was no case to answer.

Mr. McIntyre welcomed the decision by the NUJ Appeals Tribunal to overturn the flawed decision-making and penalties issued by the Ethics Council.

Mr McIntyre states that after a ‘scrupulously fair hearing’ before the Appeals Tribunal he is ‘extremely happy to have been totally vindicated and to know that the baseless claims by the two Belfast journalists, Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes, were rejected in their entirety.’

He described the decision as a major victory for freedom of expression over those who would seek to suppress it.

“The growing culture of censorship in the North is under scrutiny, and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, alone amongst political leaders, appears to be attuned to this problem in his current attempts to introduce legislation that would push back the constraints on free expression. The Tribunal decision is important in this context because it effectively entreats journalists to oppose censorship rather than impose it.”

Mr McIntyre concluded:

“While extremely satisfied with the outcome, it is my sincere hope and expectation that those news outlets which announced the flawed Ethics Council verdict against me in March will have the professional courtesy to provide the same level of coverage to this indisputable and unalloyed vindication.”



STATEMENT OF NUJ APPEALS TRIBUNAL





BACKGROUND

For background to Allison Morris's and Ciaran Barnes's complaints against Anthony McIntyre see: NUJ Wiki Dump


24 comments:

michaelhenry said...

AM-

Thought it strange when you first brought this story up on the Quill that the Irish News made no reply or excuse on here-I think you said that the editor wrote to you in private but their claims/complaints were made in public-if they have any decency in them at all they should make a public apology-but I think they should still make some comment on the Quill to explain themselves-if they can-I still buy the Irish News 6 days of the week-lol-must look out for the big sorry-

AM said...

Michaelhenry,

you have been supportive on this for the outset and I appreciate that. The verdict was a week ago and the Irish News have said nothing about it. Whereas they ran the flawed Ethics Council verdict the day after it came out.

In any event despite the two journalists who waged the complaint behaving wrongly in doing so, I am not going to go on a coat trailing exercise by rubbing their noses in it. I am just pleased to have been vindicated. My real ire has been roused by the Ethics Council. Journalists will make complaints for a whole range of reasons. The Ethics Council is supposed to deliberate with a degree of sophistication and efficiency. It failed miserably. I retain grave reservations about its agenda.

Robert said...

Anthony,

Congratulations on being reinstated to the 'Igloo Builders of the Sahara'!

AM said...

Robert,

indeed. It is a cold house for censors!

Dixie said...

Michaelhenry have you ever tried to kick yourself in the ghoulies?

I doubt it that the Irish News will attempt this themselves.

I can perhaps hear a muffled 'ouch' or the biting of tongues but as we've seen so often, these type of journalists; like those cute little praire dogs, will pop up again out of another hole somewhere.

Anyway Mackers congratulations mo chara.

AM said...

Dixie,

thanks for the support. Censorship has been pushed back a little.

Simon said...

Congratulations!! A real and meaningful victory! It stank to the heavens from day one.

AM said...

Simon,

always my own thoughts on the matter.

Jim Lynch said...

Congratulations Anthony. Stories like this restores one's faith in human nature.
I am happy for you, and even though we are a few generations apart, and our views may differ, I respect you opinions, and belfries.
Keep up the good work.

AM said...

Jim,

much appreciated. No need to respect my opinions, just to respect my right to hold them - which you obviously do. I respect a person's right to hold whatever opinion they want. I might be disdainful of the opinion held. But that is our right in a free speech culture

larry hughes said...

top notch, great to hear.

James said...

AM,
Fair play to you, the media here is as rotten as the men that direct what coverage we should and should not know.

James said...

They also have a brass neck to talk about ethics and breach off, if you ask me. What code of ethics does there editor go by, especially the Irish news, Christ the night.

gerard hodgins said...

a bit of vindication is always good for the soul mackers. well done.

is there any mechanism in the journalist world that can challenge the obviously underhand way in which the two hacks attacked you?

well done comrade. put the feet up and celebrate. i am having a half of whisky for you tonight!!

Organized Rage said...

Its been a good day today, sun was out, Ed Snowden gained sanctuary in Russia, and at last the NUJ stepped up to the plate. Well done mate, you richly deserved this verdict, the original judgement was preposterous.

Mick

marty said...

A bit late a cara I,ve been away drowning worms and collecting Plum poteen, a great and deserved result, now if there really was justice Morris and Barnes should be hung out to dry,I totally agree with Micks comments , well done aris for having the balls to stick with this, good result Anthony .

itsjustmacker said...

Anthony.

A well deserved decision , congratulations on getting a verdict which you were entitled to.

Tain Bo said...

Anthony,

how does it feel to be the pigeon instead of the statue for once?!
Best of luck to you.

Dixie said...

A strange man was spotted on the Falls Road wearing a hoodie with the hood pulled up and a scarf around his lower face during the recent heat wave.

With shoulders hunched he moved like a man determined to let nobody get in his way.

Then a small child stepped out and confronted him...

"Hey Danny! Danny Morrison I know it's you!"

The man kicked the small child and hurried off, disappearing round the corner of the Sinn Fein center.

The child's irate parents; both long time unemployed voters of Sinn Fein arrived a short time later demanding to know why a grown man would kick a small child.

A member of Sinn Fein said the parents had no proof it was Danny Morrison who had kicked the child as he was heavily disguised following the recent NUJ ruling.

With snotters blinding him the child said... "Sure it was Danny Morrison, who else wears a cowboy hat round here?"

AM said...

Dixie,

LOL. Great.

He actually wrote to the NUJ to snitch that I had been critical of the servicing officer! Maintaining a decades long habit of reporting to somebody in London I guess!

Tain Bo,

I know but I have maintained from the outset despite the resounding nature of the achievement, I do not intend rubbing noses in it. The sense of satisfaction comes not in seeing Allison Morris/Ciaran Barnes take a fall - I am philosophical about that - but in seeing the Ethics Council brought to book. I have consistently argued that it had behaved well short of the standards we can expect of it.

Fionnchú said...

Great to hear the good news, AM, and I look forward to meeting a certain "close contact" of yours with whom I will share my enthusiasm next week here.

AM said...

Larry and James, appreciated. Better for the lot of them had they never chosen to go down the route they did. There was only one outcome - failure. It is never nice to be trounced so I am not going to gloat over it. My ire in the wake of the Ethics Council flawed verdict was not directed against either journalist but against the Ethics Council for behaviour I considered reprehensible and deeply unethical. What amazes me is how those presumably advising Allison/Ciaran failed to foresee the only outcome. It was so predictable. That's why I could publicly announce in the immediate wake of the Ethics Council flawed verdict, that it mattered not; that I would win in the end. James, only the editor of the Irish News can explain his view of ethics. I don't presume to speak for him. I just happen to think he could have played his hand much better. But there we go. Mistakes get made. Often, failing to recognise them rather than making them per se is what seals our fate.

AM said...

Gerard,

I take your point about there porbably being a mechanism in the NUJ for dealing with a complaint that would seem to be vexatious or to borrow a term from Allison, malicious.

But how would I feel about sending anybody in front of the Ethics Council? There is no guarantee of a fair hearing for them. One of my criticisms of the Ethics Council is that it is Ethics deficient so I would balk at the notion of placing union colleagues in front of it.

As somebody suggested earlier the two who lied in this case are no doubt annoyed by the verdict - one of them is the Ethics Council.

Pauline said...

Congratulations on this Anthony... Just sitting having a good read to myself today. Keep er lit!!!