Wednesday 18 October 2017

Irish pilgrimage brochure 'offensive to Palestinians'

A midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
A midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

A tour operator has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog for a brochure which a member of the public felt was "offensive to Palestinians".

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) upheld a complaint against Eden Quay-based Marian Pilgrimages from a member of the public about a map of Israel they used on a brochure, which excluded the Palestinian border.

The brochure was distributed to promote the company's eight-night pilgrimage to the Holy Land which promised prospective pilgrims they would take in sights in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. However, one person felt it was misleading as the map should have included the Palestinian borders. The ASAI report released yesterday showed that the travel company argued that the exclusion of the borders "had been in the interest of design and clarity, as the visual aid had only been 66mm x 100mm".

They also said they had been advised by a Palestinian "ground handler" that any offence caused would be "overshadowed by the fact that they were using hotels in Bethlehem" and contributing to the local economy.

However, the watchdog ruled that the advertisement could cause offence and said it "should not reappear in it's current format". This was among 11 adverts which had complaints upheld in the ASAI's most recent report.

A television viewer who felt that a Concern Worldwide advertisement contained "upsetting and graphic" content had their complaint rejected.

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