AFTER Eoghan Harris’s criticism of RTE, another dissenting republican tears strips off a programme shown recently on RTE for perceived bias towards the IRA. Anthony McIntyre focuses on showing of Hidden History – Joe Cahill: IRA Man, which he describes as an “appalling hagiography”.
Journalism should be, as Stephen Richter argued, about ‘having the guts to stand up to the “big guys,” not to go with the flow, but to challenge the powers that be – that’s the distinguishing criteria for journalists all over the democratic world.’ Not here, however, where the peace process has corrupted journalism and produced journalists against journalism. On occasion some have taken to describing their own colleagues as ‘JAPPs – Journalists Against The Peace Process.’ Others have admitted they would not report on events unhelpful to the peace process.
During the reign of Section 31 a self-flagellating few could be found demanding that they themselves be censored. They now worship at the peace process altar. The journalistic watchword has become ‘hush’ not ‘probe.’ Moral blackmail is now a virtue – speak up and we will endanger the peace process; and, as Eamonn McCann says, find ourselves ‘marked down as irresponsible, a danger both to ourselves and to society as a whole.’ Myths do not merely go unchallenged but are reproduced. Too many journalists behave as players, not reporters.
The peace process is a malignant virus infecting the processes of intellectual autonomy. Its stifling oppressiveness has forced investigative minds to wade through a quagmire of ethical dung, the obnoxious fumes of which they inhale and breath out again as news. Orwell argued that in a time of universal deceit the only revolutionary act is to tell the truth. Irish journalism will hardly be the vanguard of that revolution.
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