Necessary journalism of the tabloids

Most of polite society in Northern Ireland turns up its collective nose at the tabloid reporting of papers like the Sunday World. However, Brian Wilson writing in the Scotland on Sunday sees the latest campaign against the paper as testimony to its constant focus on the day to day realities of paramilitary life in the largely working class areas of Northern Ireland.

We all want to see peace prevail in Northern Ireland. But there is a danger that a price of declaring peace has been to turn a blind eye to very nasty things that continue to happen. The paramilitary organisations on both sides have long since been political fronts for gangsterism and racketeering. All of that cannot simply be swept under the carpet in the name of peace.

In 1999, the Sunday World offices in Belfast were fire-bombed. The next day, Mo Mowlam visited the scene. She talked to the staff, thanked them for the necessary and courageous work they were doing and subsequently wrote to them individually. It is impossible not to contrast that response with the almost total official silence that has greeted the current campaign against the paper.

Exposure of Northern Ireland’s filthy underbelly does not come without risk. The paper’s Northern editor, Jim Campbell, was shot and wounded. In 2001 one of its reporters, Martin O’Hagan, was murdered in Lurgan by the Loyalist Volunteer Force as he walked home from the pub. Not many journalists in “this country” work under these shadows.

  • carlosblancos

    While far from perfect the Sunday World is a courageous and under appreciated newspaper. Too many northern journalists sit at home and peddle revisionist nonsense drip fed from Connolly House or the NIO. The reporters at this paper are fearless and merciless in their coverage.

    If papers were judged by their enemies, then the Sunday World stands head and shoulders above the rest.

  • mickhall

    Hear, hear,

    What a bunch the UDA are. The degenerate gambler and north Belfast UDA leader Shoukri, gets exposed for what he is, then the rest of the UDA tops start thinking
    he may bring civil forfeiture, by the likes of the Criminal Assets Bureau down on all of them. Better put a stop to all newspaper talk of them sloshing about their ill gotten gains, hence the boycott.

    The failure of the rest of the press to swing in behind the Sunday World is disapointing, although par for the course. At the very least they should all have printed a version of the Shoukri exposure. If it is untrue,LOL, I am sure Andre can raise the cash to sue.

    Why do the media love Gangsters? They really are the low life of the criminal fraternity, to inept or cowardly to steal for themselves they leach of others. The British security services really created a monster with the UDA which needs culling.

  • looking in

    Too many northern journalists sit at home and peddle revisionist nonsense

    Totally correct and it extends to the tv as well

    Simple example, tonight on BBC interview with rent a quote McCausland about attack on 80 yr old in N.Belfast. Now, excuse me but wheer has this beared wonder been the last couple of weeks whilst muder and mayhem ensue, not a bloody fucking cheep from him, yet all of a sudden up he pops

    If the journalist/s had the balls they’d challenge toss-pots like him continually, regardless of affiliation/side. If it pissed people off so they didn’t appear then fantastic – result.

    I am sorry unfortunately, too often journalists trot out the doing our job reporting all side line – but they have to take a degree of responsiblity for accepting rent a quote politicos

  • Fanny

    Jim Rodgers is another man I could easily never hear again. But I suppose that reliable ‘rentaquote’ politicos are irresistable when you’ve a deadline to meet.