Perception of Travellers 'shaped by the media'


PUBLIC PERCEPTION of Travellers is shaped by the media, whose coverage can vary from "excellent'' to that "bordering on incitement to hatred", Ronnie Fay, director of Pavee Point Travellers' Centre in Dublin has said.

"The media carries a huge responsibility in its reporting of Traveller issues," she said. "Research has shown that the majority of people have never met a Traveller and that they got their images and understanding of Travellers through the media. Why then would 97 per cent of people not want Travellers as a member of their family?" she asked.

She said that Traveller organisations recognised and respected the right of the media to report on stories in relation to Travellers which were in the public interest.

"However, we would call on them to do this in a fairer and more balanced manner. We would ask them to seek the views of Travellers and Traveller organisations when covering issues," she said.

She said Pavee Point welcomed the establishment of the Press Ombudsman and the Press Council and called on them both "to robustly monitor coverage of Travellers and to promote good practice by media producers and journalists. Traveller organisations look forward to engaging positively with them in the coming years," she said.