BBC NI amends ‘clumsy’ language in emotive report on IRA murder victims

BBC image of Pam Morrison
BBC image of Pam Morrison
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The language used in a BBC NI report on a Co Fermanagh family repeatedly bereaved by the IRA, has been criticised by Doug Beattie as “misrepresentative” and “loaded”.

The Ulster Unionist MLA challenged the BBC over the content of an article based on an emotive interview with Pam Morrison – a Lisnaskea woman who had three UDR brothers murdered by the IRA and a sister, Hilary, also in the regiment, fatally injured while manning a checkpoint.

Doug Beattie MC MLA. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Doug Beattie MC MLA. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

All three brothers, Ronnie, Cecil and Jimmy Graham, were part-time members of the UDR who were shot dead while off-duty between 1981 and 1985.

Mrs Morrison said the murders were a “complete disaster” for her family, and said: “It was ... really devastating for the family and to their wives and to the youngsters that they left behind.”

She also said there was no appetite for retaliation, because that was “just going to leave more hurt in the community”.

Mr Beattie said the BBC report “sought to equate the violence of terrorist organisations” with the actions of the security forces.

“For a national broadcaster to say, ‘many acts of violence were carried out by republican and loyalist paramilitaries and security forces’ is absolutely shameful,” he said.

“The BBC realised their mistake and amended the piece online, but the damage was already done.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Some of the language used in this piece was clumsy and lacked clarity and precision. It has since been amended.”