875/2021 - A Man and the Irish Independent **

By Gabrielle Collins
Monday, 13th September 2021
Filed under:

**The complainant originally requested anonymity in the drafting of the Press Ombudsman’s decision.  On completion of the consideration of the appeal by the editor the complainant consented to his name being associated with the decision.  The complainant was Mr Brian Lohan

The editor of the Irish Independent appealed the decision of the Press Ombudsman to the Press Council of Ireland on the grounds that there had been an error in the application of the Code of Practice by the Press Ombudsman. 

The editor stated that the article, which he said was not a news article, offered contrasting views of issues rather than direct criticism or factual inaccuracies regarding the complainant.   He said that in circumstances where the Press Ombudsman acknowledged that no factual inaccuracy had been established, he failed to give sufficient consideration to the offer by the newspaper of an interview with the complaint, and a letter to the editor, as a right of reply.

Decision of Press Council on appeal.

The Press Council considered the appeal at its meeting on Friday, 3 September 2021.  It rejected the appeal and decided that the Press Ombudsman had not erred in his application of the Code, specifically Principle 1.1 of the Code which states that “in reporting news and information, the press shall strive at all times for truth and accuracy.”   The Council deemed that the article was a news article, and given the very specific context and content of the information that was published therein, it decided that the newspaper, in these particular circumstances, should have contacted the complainant prior to publication to give him an opportunity to comment.

The decision of the Press Ombudsman can be viewed here