US TV network apologises to Bloody Sunday families - ‘We regret the error’ say ABC
American television network ABC this week apologised live on-air for branding the victims of Bloody Sunday ‘IRA protesters’ in a recent news report.
The surprising move emerged following a barrage of complaints to the US television network from both Irish people living here and in the USA,, and lawyers acting for some of the Bloody Sunday families here in Derry.
Earlier this month during a report about Martin McGuinness’ handshake with the British monarch, ABC reporter Nick Schifrin spoke of the Deputy First Minister’s past as an IRA leader, then stating: “The IRA’s clashes with Protestants often turned violent. In 1972, British troops killed IRA protesters at what became known as Bloody Sunday.”
The reference was described as a “disgrace” and an “insult” by local campaigners who fought for years to clear their loved ones names, and by legal teams - all of whom called for an immediate apology from ABC News.
The Derry Journal also raised the matter with ABC.
Earlier this week, Good Morning America’s main anchor-man broadcast a clarification about the Bloody Sunday gaffe on their flagship news programme, stating: “We regret the error”.
Good Morning America’s anchor-man said in their ‘clarification’: “After the broadcast we were contacted by lawyers for demonstrators and families of demonstrators who were injured or killed by British forces on what’s known as Bloody Sunday in 1972. They objected to our reference to those killed as ‘IRA protestors’. The lawyer said all victims of Bloody Sunday should be referred to as civil rights demonstrators, telling us, and I quote, ‘each of those murdered and wounded was unequivocally declared to be innocent’ by an International Commission of Inquiry, and we regret the error.”
Maura Young, whose brother John was murdered on Bloody Sunday, welcomed the news but said her family were “shocked” that ABC chose to retract their statement live on-air. “We were shocked that it was the anchor-man who did it - we presumed we would get a letter of apology from ABC at the most. It shows you how seriously they took our complaints. At least they held their hands up and admitted they were in the wrong.
“We spent ten years in the Guildhall waiting for Lord Saville to say what we all knew - that everyone was innocent - so for one of the world’s biggest TV networks to get it so wrong was totally unacceptable,” Mrs Young added.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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