Fresh from his foray into Scottish football and whilst yet to issue that invite to All-Ireland Senior and Minor Football Champions, Tyrone, DCAL Minister Gregory Campbell has put down a Motion in the House of Commons calling for “balanced media coverage” in Scotland and the Six Counties regarding comments made about the ‘Roman Catholic community’ and the Protestant community.
Gregory’s motion reads as follows:
That this House notes the condemnation by sections of the media, particularly in Northern Ireland and Scotland, of those who use language which could be construed as anti Catholic but also notes the lack of criticism or condemnation by similar sections of the media about comments which could equally be construed as anti Protestant such as the former Policing Ombudsman in Northern Ireland Nuala OLoan, who in August 2008 during a BBC Radio 4 interview for Womans Hour said “Protestants would have been taught as children that they could not trust Catholics”, calls for a fair and balanced media approach in trying to ensure that such ill informed and inaccurate comments cease to be made by all of those in positions of influence.
All very puzzling, given the obvious MOPEish taint of the motion. Yet, whilst Campbell’s stated focus is on comments attributed to Nuala O’Loan, there must be a strong suspicion that Gregory’s real target is the media’s reporting of comments attributed to fellow DUP MP, Iris Robinson, regarding homosexuality and the job of a government to uphold God’s will. Is this the DUP trying to strong arm the local media? The suggestion by Campbell that O’Loan’s comments received an “almost sympathetic and unquestioning hearing and acceptance” in the media would appear to be quite a stretch, but even if they were defended by some commentators, is the DUP arguing that such opinions should be censored? And, ultimately, isn’t it ironic that the party which historically provided the most juicy soundbites when it came to making derogatory statements about one particular Christian Faith would now be attacking the media for the reporting of such comments?