This is the second of the series of articles that The Irish News and its lawyers are trying to have removed from The Pensive Quill. The series will be republished here in its entirety this week.
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.
Mr McIntyre concluded:
STATEMENT OF NUJ APPEALS TRIBUNAL
For background to Allison Morris's and Ciaran Barnes's complaints against Anthony McIntyre see: NUJ Wiki Dump