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The media purports to be a bastion of fairness, balance and equality, but in fairness it is dictated by the same prejudices and motivations of the general public, from editors to producers to presenters and correspondents, all over there are political, personal and positional bias, all glistening and glossed up in a tangled weaved web of purported free speech and more importantly, strategic maneuvering to play to their audience.
Political correctness has been used as a foil to detract and distract from the inherent prejudices in the media espoused by the mouth pieces that manifest carefully worded ‘correctness’ whilst denying the ‘equal’ rights of less equal minorities. It is readily accepted that people will not be vilified due to their sexual orientation, gender, family status, age, religious beliefs, disability, marital status, race or for them being members of the travelling community, this is in line with the nine grounds of discrimination prohibited by the states Equal Status Acts.
However, as we examine the way in which these grounds are handled by the media, it will become apparent that some of the grounds contained in the act are held more sacrosanct than others. The media has often blatantly rabble roused against the travelling community, men, religious beliefs and young people, this, in the mainstream print and broadcast media is seen as acceptable, yet if the same sort of imbalance was evident in analysis that pertained to women, someone’s sexual orientation, disability or race it would be viewed as unacceptable, however prejudice towards immigrants in the current economic climate has crept onto the airwaves recently.
But, the question should be asked, should the media ever be critical of any of these groups if the criticism is fair and balanced? Since Germaine Greers publication of The Female Eunuch, some forty plus years ago, much has changed, yet much still stays the same, Greer in her seminal work argued that Men hate Women. This feminist analysis, was one of a series of writings and movements that caused a catalyst, that brought us to a slightly more equal place in society, albeit one that still subjugates women in relation to pay and presence in the higher echelons of politics and the business world.
However, when it comes to family rights, there is little or no equality for unmarried fathers or children’s rights, the constitution still puts the mothers rights as paramount to the severe detriment of unmarried Fathers and their Children. This was most recently exemplified by the lack of coverage in the media some years ago of an Unmarried Father who fought through the courts after the mother of his children left the country with their three children, his final recourse, the European Court of Justice ruled he had no automatic right to custody of his children and the mother could not be accused of abducting them, if the story was reversed, how would it have played out in the media?
Article by John J.O’Donovan (c)
Link to The Equality Authority Website: http://www.equality.ie/en/