Mr Paul Murphy MEP and the 'Sunday Independent'
The Press Ombudsman has decided not to uphold a complaint by Mr Paul Murphy MEP about an article published on August 4, 2013 in the Sunday Independent, written by another politician, which criticised his political position on Palestine.
Mr Murphy complained that the article was in breach of Principles 1 (Truth and Accuracy) and 4 (Respect for Rights) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines, because the newspaper had not granted him a right of reply of equal length and prominence to the article about which he had complained.
Mr Murphy also complained that the newspaper, after inviting him to submit an article by way of reply (but without any commitment to publish) had instead published, as a letter to the editor, an edited version of what he had submitted.
The newspaper argued that the complaint arose out of a political debate between politicians and that the nature and extent of the right of reply afforded to Mr Murphy was therefore justified.
In the opinion of the Press Ombudsman, the provisions of the Code of Practice can only rarely be applied with precision to robust political arguments in the press.
In this case, a reasonable application of the Code to the article concerned does not support the complainant's view that it was in breach of Principles 1 or 4 of the Code.
The complainant was not, therefore, under the Code, entitled to a right of reply.
10 October 2013