Friday 4 December 2009

BBC respect the GFA, but not RTÉ

Oddly – and disappointingly – the release today of figures from the CSO regarding the increase in southern shoppers in the north has led to quite different headlines according to the media outlet chosen.

The Irish Times, traditionally the paper of the southern Protestant business class, but now simply the leading liberal Dublin paper, correctly referred to the cross-border shoppers as "Cross-Border shoppers" or "Shoppers from the Republic":


The BBC, although referring to "Southern shoppers" in the title of their story, and further referring to "Shoppers from the Irish Republic" slip into a rather lazy negation of both fact and law by then calling these shoppers "one-in-six Irish households" – apparently forgetting that almost a third of 'Irish households' may be living north of the border.



Worst, though, is RTÉ – the state broadcaster of the southern state – which ought to know better. It refers to the shoppers simply as "Irish shoppers", as if nobody north of the border is Irish.


It might be instructive for RTÉ to reflect on the Good Friday Agreement, which states that:

"The participants [ … ] will recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose"
The GFA, if anyone in RTÉ wishes to check, forms part of the Constitution – the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1998 "allowed the State to consent to be bound by the British-Irish Agreement done at Belfast on 10 April 1998", and introduced this change into Article 2:

"It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation."

As the state broadcaster RTÉ has an obligation to recognise that the term 'Irish shopper' does not apply uniquely to those who live in the state.

It is unacceptable that the state broadcaster should respect the constitution under which it operates less than either a commercial newspaper, or the state broadcaster of the UK.

Update (4 December, evening):

Congratulations to reader Nordie Northsider (who contacted RTÉ), and fair play (belatedly) to RTÉ - the text of their article has now been changed to "Shoppers from Republic" and "Consumers from the Republic of Ireland".

18 comments:

Nordie Northsider said...

I noticed that, Horseman, and it's an example of a trend that royally pisses me off. The worst offender is 'Ireland and Northern Ireland' - an atrocity which boasts 293,000 hits on Google.

Nordie Northsider said...

I made a complaint about the terminology used in the cross-border shopping stories and sent it to RTÉ's website editorial team. They replied very quickly and very politely promising to change the wording. Fair play to them.

Watcher said...

Reality kicking in. I welcome it and expect it to continue.

Watcher said...

"The Irish Times, traditionally the paper of the southern Protestant business class, but now simply the leading liberal Dublin paper,"

Ye, not many Protestants left in the old cess pit is there? I wonder what happened to them all? Mustn't have been the multi-cultural paradise some make it out to have been. Funny the way The Catholic population in the 'Orange Fascist State' continued to grow. You'd have thought that if it was so oppressive more of them would have cleared off - especially given the fact, that some could have literally strolled across the border into The Republic. I often wonder why so few did?

Anonymous said...

My grandfather and family moved south when the border was created.

I will be moving north in time to vote for reunification.

Horseman said...

Nordie Northsider,

Well done. Your complaint seems to have led to a faily quick change in the RTE story.

Ulick said...

Good man NN!

Anonymous said...

The RTE website, a suprising recent winner in some competition or other (can only guess at the quality of website it was against) is very poor.

Loose langauge is but one example of the lack of quality control and it is also extremely slow at getting itself updated - espeically at weekends. The deisgn of the site is now quite outdated and is also quite poor.

Kieron

bangordub said...

3 Cheers for NN
Well done

hoboroad said...

Well done Nordie Northsider

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Anonymous said...

Re the above post: Andy's really lost it this time.

Anonymous said...

Translation?

Anonymous said...

Well done Nordie Northsider.

- Munsterman

paul said...

Anonymous said...

My grandfather and family moved south when the border was created.

I will be moving north in time to vote for reunification...... ha ha, thats what im talking about lad.

nice one nn

Pedro said...

As an ROIer I have to say that it gets my wick on hearing the southern shoppers in question described as being 'unpatriotic': as if the good people of Newry and Belfast were not Irish.

Anonymous said...

Ah, butthere is no such constitutional entity called 'republic of ireland'. The name of the state is Ireland or Eire, according to Ireland's constitution. RTE and the IT by using the term 'republic of ireland' are making a concession to northern people who have difficulties distinguishing during normal flowing conversation between ireland qua geographical entity and ireland qua constitutional entity. We changed articles 2 and 3 for u chaps up here, I'm sorry I absolutely opposed to our changing article 4.

Anonymous said...

Shop till u drop. Who cares about leaving the euros for the shops in the southern counties? What matters is where to get most out of your hard-earned currency. The pound is presently cheap, eventhough buying food in Britain is excessively pricy. Cheer up, aint it good to leave some VAT-money for the British Exchequer?