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Pressing a Point

By Villager

The Irish Times made seven mistakes in its court report of Mark Dearey’s defamation action against Village last year, including that Village had actually defamed him (which it had not) and that he was seeking damages, when he wasn’t. Under pressure they corrected two of them. Village then took a case to the Press Ombudsman. In negotiations the Irish Times agreed to change another three of the mistakes. Village decided that the Irish Times and the Ombudsman needed to address the additional outstanding two points properly as well. So the Ombudsman decided against Village on the basis it was unreasonable to ask to have all the mistakes addressed. Village then appealed the decision to the Press Council. In an extraordinary decision in September the Press Council upheld one of the outstanding two points and decided against Village on the other one without saying why. But it again stated that Village should have accepted the offer to resolve three of the five outstanding mistakes. In other words Village should have accepted an offer that didn’t address a point that the Council itself found was a mistake and which it ordered the Irish Times to correct.

The mistake was in saying the article over which Mr Dearey sued was “about” him when in fact he was referred to once in a 1,700-word article.