Irish Traveller movement meets to discuss key issues
In the dying days of the Dale Farm eviction saga something changed in the approach taken by the mainstream British media in terms of how they covered the unfolding events.
Where initially column inches, radio shows and even television programmes, such as the BBC's 'Newsnight', analysed the shortage of pitches available to the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, the coverage in those final days focused on violence, resistance and force.
"Somehow the key issues were lost at the end," says Matthew Brindley, policy and research officer with the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB).
"Rather than focussing on the fact that 20pc of the Travelling community have no legal place to park, the media seemed to look to the extremes, the burning caravan and so on. That and the Channel 4 'Big Gypsy Wedding' programme generated a lot of media attention this year -- but it wasn't always positive."
Today up to 150 people, including Irish Travellers from across Britain, will attend the ITMB's annual conference at the London Resource Centre.
After listening to guest speakers such as Anastasia Crickley, a member of the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination, and Traveller psychotherapist Thomas McCann, delegates will get the opportunity to voice their concerns and attend workshops on issues such as evictions, health, education and the media.