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Sinn Féin slams BBC for anti-Irish remarks

18 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Councillor for North Belfast, David Kennedy, has slammed the BBC for ignoring anti-Irish remarks on its message boards. The BBC, after being made aware of this by a regular contributor, stated that they could find no instance where their rules had been broken despite being directed to the offensive comments.

Speaking today Cllr Kennedy stated:

"Irish people have for the past number of weeks been subject to defamatory and racist abuse on the BBC's internet message board with users of the site referring to Irish citizens as 'Paddies' alongside other defamatory stereotypical remarks. When contacted about it by several users of the site the BBC's reply was wholly inadequate and contradictory.

"The BBC's reply states that they could find no way in which their house rules for the message boards had been broken. This is despite the very same rules stating that defamatory, abusive and racially offensive material is not acceptable.

"Nationalists and republicans have long expressed serious concerns for many years about the manner in which the BBC operates and this will further compound their suspicions. For the BBC to ignore and not consider anti-Irish racism as a problem is as good as condoning it.

"Sinn Fein have highlighted on several occasions that the BBC still remain exempt from equality scrutiny under Section 75. It is exactly this kind of incident that proves the need for the BBC to be included under this law and face up to its responsibilities as a public body." ENDS

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