Belfast Telegraph

TUV's Jim Allister rails at BBC for 'smearing' IRA victims

By Staff Reporter

BBC NI has been slammed for "eulogising" Martin McGuinness in death while ignoring IRA victims.

TUV leader Jim Allister queried why the term "innocent victims" had been placed in quotation marks in a headline on the BBC website.

It was later changed to 'Prayer service for IRA victims held in Fermanagh'.

More: Martin McGuinness funeral: They came from far and wide... but Arlene Foster made toughest journey

The service at Lisnaskea was attended by relatives of those killed by the IRA, including in the Enniskillen and Claudy bombs, and prayers were said by Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist ministers before a minute's silence was observed as a mark of respect for victims of the IRA.

Mr Allister said he made an official complaint to the BBC about the initial headline.

"I have to say that the BBC took things to a new level when they decided to run a report on a service for victims of IRA violence which had a headline in which the words innocent victims were placed in quotation marks," he said.

"It is telling that the BBC believe no such qualification is needed in their lead story when they describe McGuinness as a peacemaker.

"It is equally telling that when the BBC newsroom was rung to make a complaint that the person who answered said they were 'very busy covering the McGuinness funeral'."

A BBC spokesman said: "We have received correspondence from the TUV and will respond in due course."

Meanwhile, Protestant victims campaigner Willie Frazer claimed that the BBC blocked the views of his victims group FAIR, and vowed not to work with the broadcaster in future.

"In fact, it has become that bad we don't think we will give any more help to them," he said.

A BBC spokesman said: "We are confident our coverage of this story has been balanced, impartial and accurate."

He added: "Our coverage has included a range of voices and reaction, including from politicians and many of those directly affected by IRA and Troubles' violence."

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