Finlay slams BBC coverage


Ballymoney DUP councillor John Finlay has written to the head of BBC Northern Ireland expressing his “disgust” at the broadcaster’s coverage of discussions following the death of Ian Paisley, particularly a Spotlight programme.

Mr Finlay said: “Like many people in Northern Ireland, I have been mourning the passing of my good friend Dr Ian Paisley, and I have been utterly disgusted by some of the media coverage of his death.

“An example was the BBC1 “Spotlight” programme broadcast on Tuesday 16 September. The panel consisted of Alex Kane, Danny Morrison and Fionnuala O’Connor along with Peter Hain by TV link. Some of the comments were not only inaccurate but grossly offensive to Dr Paisley’s family and friends.

“Indeed, such was my colleague Gregory Campbell’s annoyance about what was said by panel members that, when he appeared on the same programme a little later, he felt compelled to express his disgust at the “bile and vitriol” that had been uttered.

“I have written to Peter Johnston, director of BBC NI, to express my deep concern about the “Spotlight” programme and other BBC discussions in the days following Dr Paisley’s passing.

“I made it clear that I have no difficulty whatever with the idea of objective analysis and assessment of Dr Paisley’s life and legacy, but a few days after his passing is not the time for that and, in any assessment, it is vital that there is balance and fairness.

“I pointed out that there was no-one present who was sympathetic to the Paisley position, or able or willing to challenge the sweeping and unfounded comments that were being made.

Mr Finlay added that the BBC had got “stuck into Dr Paisley” and “should hang its head in shame.”