Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

Ms. Bernie Grogan Office of the Press Ombudsman 1, 2 & 3 Westmoreland Street Dublin 2 Dear Ms Grogan, Thank you for forwarding the reply from the Irish Times editor, Kevin O’Sullivan, to our complaint of August 3rd 2012. It is at various times polite, contemptuous and cleverly evasive. Unlike our submission, it was clearly prepared by a group of professional writers. It does not, however, constitute a satisfactory answer to our complaint, and we therefore reject its offer of a minor correction. Before we respond in some detail to what is in the letter, we should note what is not in it. At no point does Mr O’Sullivan allege that Dervish were, in fact, subject to venomous social-media bullying by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists in the IPSC, nor that Gerard Donovan was subject to intimidating threats. The absence of a defence claiming that the stories were substantially true does not come as a surprise to us, since we knew all along that they were not. Nonetheless, the tacit admission that the basis for several of the stories listed in the complaint was no basis at all, combined with what is effectively a claim that the Irish Times never said that BDS “venom” had actually happened, is a colossal abdication of responsibility. Can Mr O’Sullivan really pretend that a reasonable person reading the Irish Times during this period would not have formed a false impression, from the original May 4th story through to Mary Fitzgerald’s May 12th “presumably” and beyond, that there was in fact such “venom” from the IPSC and its supporters? We know from painful experience that many, many people formed such a false impression, doing harm to our organisation. If the Ombudsman agrees that such an impression was reasonable based on the stories that appeared, then he can surely conclude that our complaint has substantial merit in relation to the stories that created and reinforced that impression. The Irish Times, in the form of Mr O’Sullivan’s letter, no longer asserts what it plainly reported in May, and should therefore correct those reports as quickly and prominently as possible. May 4th, “Dervish pull out of Israel tour after social-media ‘venom’” It is essentially Mr O’Sullivan’s contention that in this story the Irish Times accurately reported what he tacitly admits is a false claim. If his contention were correct, we submit that the story would still be in violation of principle 2.2 (reporting unconfirmed information as fact), principle 3.1 (lacking fairness) and principle 4 (damaging the good name of the IPSC and named members by publishing unfounded accusations without reasonable care as to their accuracy). But even his inadequate defence is itself inaccurate. At no point did Dervish or Cathy Jordan state that the tour was cancelled “after” (following in time) or “after” (in journalese, as a consequence

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

of) social-media “venom”. Thus, in addition to the faults outlined in the paragraph above, this story failed on basic accuracy, and thus on principle 1. No amount of close-reading of Ms Jordan’s prose can yield with any certainty the conclusion that the original reporters and, now, Mr O’Sullivan draw from it. Our original complaint explains this, and the real sequence of events, in some detail. We do not of course pretend that parts of her statement, taken in isolation, aren’t potentially (though not definitively) amenable to the Irish Times interpretation. However, the Irish Times reporters, who after all found this statement on the band’s Facebook page, were clearly in a position to see that before it was published there had been 24 hours of genuine, nasty and sometimes threatening venom directed at Dervish by supporters of Israel; the reporters chose not to report this. One could speculate about why in this context Ms Jordan might have decided to release a somewhat ambiguously worded statement and then not to clarify it subsequently; this was in keeping with the careful political neutrality of the previous day’s Dervish statement. However, our complaint is not against Cathy Jordan. It is against the Irish Times, which blithely dispensed with ambiguity and even now insists that Ms Jordan’s short phrase about “concerns with our proposed visit to Israel” can only possibly refer to the precancellation requests from BDS activists, rather than being shorthand, in the context of what must have been an unusual and upsetting time for Dervish, for “all this controversy”, including the aftermath of the cancellation itself.
Indeed, in the complete relevant sentence from her statement, which the Irish Times edited without indicating that it had done so, Ms Jordan wrote: “Dear friends, today I arrived back from the US and although I was aware of the concerns with our proposed visit to Israel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the venom directed at us.” This places her remark about “venom”, and the rest of the statement, in the context of “today”, i.e. after the cancellation had already been announced.

This is why we are so insistent on the distinction, blurred by the newspaper, between the April 30th cancellation statement from the band and the May 1st statement from Ms Jordan. The latter was not, as Mr O’Sullivan asserts, a more up-to-date version of the cancellation statement. It was issued in an entirely new context, still unacknowledged by the Irish Times, in which “concerns about our proposed visit” included, most conspicuously, anger that it had been abandoned. The Jordan statement’s reference to “all this anger and hatred”, presented inaccurately by the Irish Times as referring simply to the BDS campaign, is, in context, almost certainly a reference to the reaction from supporters of Israel (and perhaps to some further reactions directed at those supporters by pro-Palestinian Facebook-posters). We reject other elements of Mr O’Sullivan’s defence. Mr Kevin Squires of the IPSC did not use the words “forcing” or “targeted” -- if he had, surely the reporter would have indicated a direct quote rather than use these misleading and damaging paraphrases. We stand over our critique of the newspaper’s attempt to undermine the BDS campaign by contrasting it with some rather oxymoronic “official boycott”. Historically, boycotts have been Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

non-violent tools of resistance for people who lack more powerful instruments. Typically, one of the aims of a boycott is to pressure governments and international institutions to impose sanctions. By definition, boycotts are unofficial. Indeed, an "official boycott" would more appropriately be termed a "sanction". In the specific instance of the Palestinian BDS call, boycott forms but one element of a three-pronged tactic. The boycott strand encourages individuals and particular social groups (consumers, academics, and artists, for example) to register their objections and operates on the level of civil society, while divestment and sanctions operate, respectively, on the company/corporate and inter-state level. To suggest, as the Irish Times did in this context, that boycott lacks validity without some sort of official UN mandate was gratuitous at best, and at worst a further attempt to blacken the IPSC’s name (see principle 4) by suggesting that we had pressed an “unsanctioned” boycott on innocent musicians. The latter would be a reasonable reading of the intent behind the following sentences: “The group [Dervish] said they have opted out of the tour because they were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place when they agreed to the performances. In fact there is no official boycott of Israel and artists are free to play in the country if they wish” (emphasis added). While it is not our desire to indulge in retrospective rewriting, it is surely the case that a more fair and honest article might at this point have mentioned the prominent international artists who have supported the cultural boycott and/or cancelled tours of Israel, and explained the campaign's Palestinian origins, rather than giving space to such pointless and unattributed quibbling over the non-issue of the ‘officialness’ or otherwise of the boycott. In spite of the newspaper’s “In fact”, it is far from certain that Dervish were under any such misapprehension. As we write, in September, this article is the first result of an ordinary Google search for ‘Dervish Israel’, the third for ‘Dervish tour’ and fourth for ‘Dervish Ireland’. It continues to mislead readers and damage us every day it remains uncorrected. 3.1 IPSC attempts to correct Irish Times errors Mr O’Sullivan employs the time-honoured dodge, “Both sides have complained...”, in order to imply that the Irish Times was therefore achieving balance. But our side was not simply having opinionated letters go unpublished; we were drawing the newspaper’s attention to a very substantial inaccuracy in a front-page report. The reaction was not merely to ignore us, but also to publish a letter, and then a news report, which repeated and reinforced the false allegation. A clearer violation of principles 1.2 and indeed 2.2 can hardly be imagined. 3.2 May 8th: ‘Artists urged not to boycott Israel’ Mr O’Sullivan seems indifferent to the fact that the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, clearly regarded, or chose to regard, the May 4th story not as a balanced “he said, she said” reporting of statements, but as a verified laying-out of the facts on this matter. This May 8th story is the consequence. Mr Shatter’s statement was clearly based on the earlier Irish Times report. The Minister stated such in the Dail on Tuesday 15th May 2012, where he said that his “statement issued on 4th May referred to the action of the group [IPSC] mentioned by the Deputy, as reported

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

in the national press, in directing its members to ‘target’ a musical group [Dervish] in order to intimidate the group into cancelling their proposed concerts in Israel”. As, at the time of the issuance of his statement, the only report in the “national press” was the incorrect and misleading Irish Times report, the Minister is clearly referring to said report. Thus for Mr O’Sullivan to defend this story as another simple “accurate summary of comments” is disingenuous in the extreme. The Irish Times was well aware by this time that Raymond Deane and the IPSC contested the accuracy of the May 4th story, but that is not reflected here. The “denial” quote from Dr Deane is brief -- Mr O’Sullivan does not elaborate on the necessity that made it so -- and does not include his fundamental critique of the inaccuracy of the entire narrative, though as we have shown, the reporter, Ronan McGreevy, was well aware of this critique. In addition to being enormously unfair and imbalanced -- it could hardly be otherwise given the language employed by the Minister and the space given over to it -- this article directly repeats the factual and chronological inaccuracy of the May 4th article: “Dervish pulled out of a concert tour of Israel citing an ‘avalanche of negativity’ and ‘venom’ directed towards them on social media outlets.” But the “pulling” and the “citing” did not happen at the same time. A correct report would have read: “Dervish pulled out of a concert tour of Israel, then in a later statement cited an ‘avalanche of negativity’ and ‘venom’ directed towards them on social media outlets.” We have already indicated why this distinction is so important, and despite several days of the IPSC drawing it to the attention of Mr McGreevy in particular, he chose to ignore it. Given that his original inaccurate story had given rise to hyperbolical comments by the Minister in the form of a press release, this is hardly surprising; but it is also a clear violation of principles 1 through 4 of the Code of Practice. As an important aside, it was possible for journalists who actually investigated this story to find a causal narrative other than “social media venom caused cancellation”. Mark Tighe of the Irish edition of the Sunday Times reported on May 20th (“Dervish ‘must pay for Israel boycott”) that respected trad-folk musician Andy Irvine had privately approached Dervish to ask them to comply with the boycott. Tighe also reported an Israeli source stating that Dervish would be financially responsible for losses arising from the cancellation, a potentially pertinent factor in assessing their public statements. Likewise, a story in The Phoenix magazine's 1st June issue (‘Israeli Irish offensive’, Pages 3-4) reported that “Deane was quite correct to point out that the venom had come from the Israeli side. There certainly were plenty of online messages critical of the tour but these consisted of pleas not to endorse Israel’s apartheid treatment of Palestinians; […] However, once the band cancelled their tour, the messages certainly did become venomous, citing ‘antisemitism… Satan’s agenda… cowards… spineless… terrorists… fascist thugs”, plus an invitation to “go and crop your potatoes in Sligo or wherever you live’.” The Irish Times might have seen fit to thoroughly check the Dervish facebook page in order to accurately report the actual course of events. Had they done so, even in conjunction with reporting allegations they presumed to be

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

against the IPSC, readers would have benefited from a more balanced approach. Yet, in spite of the many column inches the newspaper devoted to the issue, nowhere is such balanced and accurate reporting be found. 3.3 May 12th: ‘Do cultural boycotts achieve anything?’ Mr O'Sullivan goes into some detail about the presentation of this piece, though nothing in his letter has made us reappraise our position. We note that Mr O’Sullivan seems to contend that an article on a “News Review” page and written by a news correspondent should nonetheless not be held to the standards of news. He also relies on a somewhat outmoded print-culture explanation of the article’s position “well away from the home or foreign news pages”, when many thousands of readers would have read it online, where such context does not apply and where the article was and is classified under “News Features”. We acknowledge that in this article, for the first time, the Irish Times provided some needed context for the boycott campaign. But we stand by our complaint about its inaccuracy and failure to reflect the by-now eight-day-old complaints from the IPSC about the original report. For Ms Fitzgerald to resort to “presumably” when she must have known this presumption was contested was in violation of principles 1.1 and 2.2. We have dealt already with the “In fact” rhetoricaldevice about “no official boycott”, which Ms Fitzgerald repeats. In also repeating the Israeli embassy’s claim that those who convinced (not “forced”) Dervish to cancel its tour were “antisemites”, without giving the IPSC or BDS campaigners a chance to respond to that ugly allegation, this article was unfair (principles 3.1 and 4) to the organisation, and to any of those individual activists who could be identified through previous coverage or through their public roles in the BDS and Dervish-Facebook campaigns. 3.4 May 14th: ‘Pro-Palestinian group targets Irish writer’ Here we have further tendentious use of the verb “to target”, but it is not the primary cause for our complaint against this article. Rather, we maintain that it repeats the previous inaccuracy, and indeed makes it more obvious. “Last week the folk band Dervish announced on their website that they were withdrawing from their proposed tour of Israel citing “venom” and an “avalanche of negativity” directed against them.” It is even clearer here than in previous stories that the Irish Times is reporting as fact that the “announcing” of the cancellation took place in the same statement as the “citing”. It simply did not. There were two statements, and the second was by no means a second version of an “announcement”; it had no “announcing” in it -- it was, rather, an emotional reflection on the controversy. Ten days after misreporting this for the first time, the Irish Times was again in a position to make the distinction and instead chose to reinforce the blurring. Mr O’Sullivan makes the strange assertion that the failure to quote the IPSC in this story is justified because “neither is there any allegation against the organisation”. However, this claim simply ignores the article’s final paragraph, which states that: “In the Seanad last Wednesday, Fianna Fáil

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

Senator Paschal Mooney condemned the campaign and said Dervish’s cancellation came as a ‘result of intimidation and bullying’.” Perhaps at this point the mere repeating of the false claims of intimidation and bullying that originated in his newspaper no longer seemed like an “allegation” to Mr O’Sullivan and his colleagues. 3.5 May 15th: ‘Novelist condemns “intimidation” by group promoting boycott of Israel’ This article, for the very first time, and for the only time in a news story, includes the IPSC view about the misinterpretation of Cathy Jordan’s statement. (To read Mr O’Sullivan’s letter one would think it was commonplace.) We stand by our position that this view is presented not only as a mere “denial”, not only as tacked-on, but also incoherently: Dr Deane denied that comments on the band’s website about them being subjected to a campaign of “venom” and an “avalanche of negativity” was directed at his organisation. Instead, he said the comments were really directed at supporters of Israel who had targeted the band after they pulled out of the tour. Nowhere is it clear that “comments on the band’s website” refers to Cathy Jordan’s statement; the word “comments”, in an online context, usually refers to content added by members of the public. It is also not clear at first sight who is “them”. The bewildering syntax of these sentences is aggravated by a grammatical error in the first one: “comments... was” -- an error that presumably arose as a consequence of the subject and verb being so far apart from each other. We are prepared to accept that this is a case of accidentally poor writing and editing rather than a deliberate effort to obscure our argument. Nevertheless, our argument was obscured, which is all the more infuriating since it was the first time in 11 days of coverage that it had been admitted to the pages of the Irish Times at all, though we had been making it all that time. We argue that the result is unfair treatment for our organisation and our view. This mess is almost incidental to the gist of this article, in which the Irish Times, at last, had an artist who clearly and directly claimed to have been bullied and intimidated by Raymond Deane and the IPSC. The IPSC has no issue with the Irish Times reporting Gerard Donovan’s claim, though its “news value” is clearly a consequence of the newspaper’s ongoing behind-the-scenes dispute with the IPSC over the Dervish story. In this context, Mr O’Sullivan is frankly misguided in stating that our complaint here “is an echo of the complaint made by the IPSC in relation to our reporting of Cathy Jordan’s statement”. It is nothing of the sort, since, whatever else she did, Cathy Jordan did not in fact -- despite what Mr O’Sullivan writes -- “complain of feeling intimidated in relation to the cultural boycott”. We submit that Cathy Jordan’s statement was consistently and repeatedly misrepresented. Gerard Donovan’s was not. Our main complaint in relation to this story is that Mr Donovan’s comments were not weighed, in the copy, against the verifiable facts of the matter. We are not asserting that the reporter “should have refused to report Mr Donovan’s comments”; simply that, at a minimum, he should have

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

quoted the actual Open Letter so that Mr Donovan’s hyperbole could face a reality check. We have established on Page 9 of our original complaint that Mr McGreevy was familiar with that letter. His failure to cite it here, or to quote Dr Deane in direct contradiction of Mr Donovan’s claims, constitutes a breach of principles 3.1 and 4, on fairness and unfounded accusations. Insofar as the IPSC was quoted, it was not to answer Mr Donovan’s robust assertions, and nor was it coherent, as we have noted above. As regards the editing of Dr Deane’s letter, which appeared the following day (May 16th), we leave it to the reader to determine whether it was cut to deflect the argument away from the Irish Times’ treatment of the story. The publication of this letter did at least provide a small, very belated and greatly inadequate, chance for the IPSC to put its argument about the paper’s initial mistake somewhat more coherently. 3.6 May 19th: ‘Pressure for arts boycott of Israel condemned’ This section of Mr O’Sullivan’s letter lays out the paper’s basic “we never said it was true” defence most clearly: “The Irish Times never alleged that the IPSC was guilty of intimidation; rather, it quoted Cathy Jordan and Gerard Donovan to the effect that they had felt intimidated by the IPSC’s actions.” We have set out our general response to this unsupportable line of defence at the beginning of this letter. We reiterate here that insofar as Cathy Jordan was quoted to this effect, then her statement was misrepresented, since she never said that. We stand by our complaint that this story and headline misrepresented Eamon Gilmore’s statement -- itself based clearly on the Irish Times misrepresentation of the story. He did not “condemn” the call, or pressure, for an arts boycott: indeed he defended the right of people to take that position. He condemned “harassment” and “intimidation”, which is not at all the same as condemning “pressure”. Like his ministerial colleague, he obviously believed, or chose to believe, that such harassment had been taking place, no doubt because he had been reading the Irish Times. It is scarcely debatable that the Irish Times waited a very long time, far too long, to publish a reply to the stories that had appeared. It ignored many letters and at least one press release from the IPSC and its supporters. When at last Chris Dooley began to organise to publish an opinion piece from Raymond Deane, he delayed it further so that the newspaper could run a further vituperative article from Gerard Donovan -- itself merely an extended opinion-page version of the sort of quotes that had been running for weeks in the news pages with little or no rebuttal. Rather than acknowledging how extraordinarily remiss this was, Mr O’Sullivan engages in a strange “gotcha” exercise of quoting emails, his point apparently being that Dr Deane didn’t actually formally protest at being given a Thursday rather than Saturday slot. Mr O’Sullivan chooses not to imagine just how shell-shocked Dr Deane and his colleagues were by this time, and fails to grasp the extraordinary power imbalance that exists in a correspondence of this nature.

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

The omission of the quoted emails from the IPSC’s complaint was, in any case, an irrelevant oversight with no bearing on the substance of our complaint. The Irish Times violated principle 1.3 by failing to offer a prompt right of reply, and exacerbated the ethical breach by finding space, again and again, for further condemnation of Dr Deane and the IPSC. Mr O’Sullivan writes that it is “worth noting” that the Israeli embassy was refused an opportunity to have an op-ed. This is entirely irrelevant to our complaint. 3.7 May 26th: ‘So much for artists sharing ideas without interference’ It is striking that in the course of seeking to defend the indefensible -- that is Gerard Donovan’s crude, defamatory and inaccurate attack on Raymond Deane and the IPSC, an article that sweeps the board in violating principles of the Press Council Code of Conduct, landing especially hard on principle 4 -- Mr O’Sullivan has the audacity to accuse the IPSC of an ethical breach in presenting an incomplete record of Dr Deane’s emails. Newspaper articles, no matter if they are presented as “comment”, simply cannot hide behind that word when they make specific allegations about people. Mr O’Sullivan claims not to discern what our complaint meant about “statements of fact”: our point was that in addition to containing comment, the article presented certain assertions as fact, assertions that were untrue, and known to the Irish Times to be untrue: that Raymond Deane “actively intimidates” and “creates trouble” for artists; that he leads an “organised mob”; that he issues “threats”. We maintain that these are not mere statements of opinion; they go beyond that to become actual untruths, and thus violations of the Code of Practice. These are the “facts” that we contend Mr Donovan got wrong, and in relation to his own case the text of Raymond Deane’s Open Letter was there to show, if the Irish Times had ever chosen to report it. Again, Mr O’Sullivan seems to have grown immune to the sorts of things that writers in his newspaper are entitled to say about Raymond Deane: he shrugs his shoulders and says it was a “strongly worded... interesting perspective”. Mr Donovan is entitled to express opinions, but not to state such things as uncontested facts. But in truth his comment piece was simply the culmination, the distillation, of three weeks of similar uncontested assertions about Raymond Deane and the IPSC. It was hardly surprising that Mr Donovan and Mr Dooley believed such utterly unsupported assertions and Nazi-comparisons could be presented as uncontested truth on an opinion page. They had been presented in just that way on the news pages since May 4th. As a mental exercise, imagine that Raymond Deane, an Irish composer of international repute, had approached the Irish Times with an unsolicited opinion piece viciously attacking, say, the Israeli ambassador for something the ambassador had not actually done. Would the Irish Times have published it, then defended it as being simply “comment”? 3.8 May 30th: ‘Palestinian envoy opposes pressure over boycott’

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

As with the Eamon Gilmore story, Mary Fitzgerald has a quote from a prominent figure opposing notional harassment, and she and the headline-writer turn it, inaccurately, into “opposes pressure”. And again, Ms Fitzgerald fails to speak with anyone from the IPSC, while at the same time linking the notional condemnation to the actual campaign of moral suasion carried out by BDS activists, in which artists are politely asked to voluntarily comply with an international boycott campaign. We have already outlined our views (on Pages 13-14 of our original complaint) on the significant failure of fair news reporting represented by the angle chosen for this story, and outlined too Mr Ajurri’s recollection of how hard Ms Fitzgerald worked to get that angle (minimised by Mr O’Sullivan as “selectively quoted etc”). Mr Ajurri’s failure to complain to the Irish Times himself is not surprising -- he is a diplomat, after all, and would be slow to involve himself in disputes with newspapers. Mr O’Sullivan’s reply, notably, does not dispute Mr Ajurri’s account of the interview, nor does it address how this story was framed to fit in with the month’s overall Irish Times narrative (which Ms Fitzgerald had been defending robustly on Twitter) rather than to reflect its actual news content. 3.9 May 31st: ‘Defence of artistic freedom ignores Palestinian plight’ Mr O’Sullivan denies that there was any “desire or attempt” to misrepresent Dr Deane’s article. He does not, however, deny that such a misrepresentation took place. We would argue that intent is ultimately irrelevant, and that the facts on the page speak for themselves: our “right to reply” in many ways ended up compounding the damage of the previous four weeks. Mr O’Sullivan does not deny Chris Dooley would have had a hand in the presentation of the page, but does loyally reject the IPSC statement that Mr Dooley vituperatively attacked pro-Palestinian commenters online. We believe the comments from the Irish Times website, quoted in our complaint, speak for themselves. However, with the permission of Harry Browne, lecturer in journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology, we can add the following exchange. The first part is a comment that Mr Browne made on the Irish Times webpage containing Mr Donovan’s article, following an exchange that is already quoted on Pages 35-37 of the original complaint; Mr Browne also emailed it to Mr Dooley, who is a former colleague of his. The second is Mr Dooley’s reply, sent from his Irish Times email address: Harry Browne Thurs 31st May My God, Chris, I am genuinely astonished at the tone and nature of your reply. You must know quite well that I was not alleging that we leave out ALL quotes that we can't show to be true. That would indeed be 'nonsense', and since I've been teaching journalism nearly as long as I worked in the Irish Times you might have given me more credit. In fact I was partly trying to tiptoe around the big L, but at this point I'll feel free to step on your toes, since you've attempted to crush mine: this article libels Raymond Deane, I believe; and even if for whatever reason that opinion is never upheld in a court of law, it certainly goes much

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

farther beyond 'fair comment' then I ever thought I would see in this newspaper. Other readers I know, including experienced journalists and teachers with no axe to grind on this issue, are agape at both how risky and how blatantly unfair it is. I have already outlined why I believe much of the previous coverage also falls below traditional IT standards of fairness and balance, to the point of conveying to readers a false impression of events; and I tend to agree with Dan Finn's analysis of how that started and continued. I won't repeat myself, except to wonder at your being so disingenuous about 'warned', clearly part of the 'threat' narrative in that story. What's wrong with 'said'? Finally, I would never expect you to acquiesce to my views -- 'magisterial' was not my word -- but I would expect something other than mockery of my professional competence and credentials from a senior journalist writing on behalf of the Irish Times. But then, as I keep learning, standards have fallen.

From: Chris Dooley [xxxx@irishtimes.com] Sent: 31 May 2012 14:22 To: Harry Browne Subject: RE: In case you miss this online Hi Harry, I am foolish to respond, because I have long since known that it is impossible to have a reasonable argument with a conspiracy theorist, and you are a conspiracy theorist par excellence. You profess astonishment at the tone of my reply, and yet you seem incapable of making a point without casting a slur on the professional integrity of somebody and/or questioning their motives. It is not sufficient, for example, for us to have a simple disagreement over the appropriateness of the use of the word “warned”; you must label me “disingenuous” in the process. This type of comment is characteristic of much of what I have seen on our website in recent days. By the way, I have access to independent advice on matters of libel… but thank you anyway for sharing your wisdom on that score. It does genuinely concern me that you are teaching journalism students. Regards Chris

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland ++353 (0)1 677 0253 info@ipsc.ie www.ipsc.ie

It is not surprising and at least partly admirable that Mr Dooley’s and Mr O’Sullivan’s first instinct is to stand loyally with their colleagues. But it is also irresponsible, and fails to grasp the importance of ensuring that the highest standards of journalism are maintained in Ireland’s most authoritative newspaper. The biased and inaccurate coverage of this issue in May was an abandonment of those standards. And though there is sadly no acknowledgment of this in Mr O’Sullivan’s letter, it caused enormous hurt and suffering among a group of ordinary citizens whose only desire was to help raise consciousness about injustice in a faraway place, and who found themselves portrayed as fascists, thugs and bullies. Not once, in any news story, was our position framed as anything other than a subordinate “denial”, and on some occasions it was ignored completely. Our position, set out in our complaint and in this letter, may appear complex, but the basic question raised by this month of misleading journalism is quite simple: would an average Irish Times reader be surprised to read that the IPSC is not opposed to “artistic freedom”, and at no time bullied, intimidated, threatened, warned or directed social-media venom at Dervish, Gerard Donovan or any other artist? If the answer to that question could possibly be “Yes”, then it is ethically imperative upon the Irish Times to put the record straight and publish that simple, verifiable truth as a matter of urgency, with a prominence equal to the untruths published previously. If, as Mr O’Sullivan’s letter suggests, the paper will not do that voluntarily, it is imperative that the Press Ombudsman enforce the Press Council Code of Practice and compel it to do so. Our demands, as presented in section 5.1 of our complaint (Page 18), are unchanged. Yours sincerely, Martin O’Quigley, Chairperson Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Unit 5, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: ++353 (0)1 677 0253 Email: info@ipsc.ie Website: www.ipsc.ie