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Jon Snow under fire for claiming DUP pushed for marching deal

By Cate McCurry

A leading Channel 4 news presenter has been heavily criticised after he was accused of posting 'fake news' about the DUP.

Jon Snow posted on social media that the DUP is demanding "the unbanning of sectarian" marches as part of their deal to support a minority Conservative government.

The misleading tweet posted yesterday came after the Drumcree parade controversy emerged again.

Portadown Loyal Orange Lodge 1, which is currently prevented from marching down the flashpoint Garvaghy Road, had issued a statement before the DUP and Tories met to discuss a deal. In it, the Orangemen indicate that they want Theresa May to allow the banned loyalist march as part of the agreement.

In a statement, the lodge had said: "We trust that the parading issue, especially in Portadown, will be high on the agenda for the new Government."

It also urged the DUP to promote the values of the "unionist people and the Orange fraternity".

Mr Snow, however, claimed it was a DUP demand for "sectarian marches" to be allowed, after he re-tweeted a comment from an account holder known as 'wee round Ian'.

No-one from Channel 4 News was available for comment last night.

The post was criticised by other users - and despite the mistake being brought to his attention, Mr Snow did not remove it from his account.

Martin Hoscik, a political commentator and journalist in London, also posted a reply to Mr Snow saying: "The DUP have demanded no such thing.

"A lodge that one DUP MP belongs to has called for it. That's not the same thing at all."

Conservative MP James Cleverly added: "We need accurate reporting and analysis from journalists rather than echoing ill informed and partisan tweets.

"Anyone can do that.

"A DUP supporter saying he 'trusts it will be a priority' is not the same as 'DUP demand'. Details like this matter."

The ongoing talks between the Tories and the DUP has sparked huge interest globally.

While the socially-conservative party's policies have been under a media microscope, disinformation about the DUP is also being spread.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, DUP MLA Simon Hamilton hit back at some of the criticism in the national media.

He said: "Much has been said about the DUP over the last number of days by commentators on the mainland.

"A lot of it has been totally inaccurate and a downright disgraceful attempt to besmirch the DUP.

"If they actually took the time to read our manifesto they would discover for themselves that the DUP is a party who unashamedly want the best for Northern Ireland but also have the nation's interest at heart."

Kathryn Johnston, secretary of the Northern Ireland branch of the Labour party, said there was "hysteria" surrounding the DUP and criticised the 'fake news' being disseminated.

She tweeted: "For all the many political difficulties I have with (the) DUP, they are NOT terrorist sympathisers, contrary to British media demonisation."

A number of doctored images and videos denigrating the DUP have also been circulating on social media.

A 'photoshopped' image of a UDA mural was altered to include a caricature of DUP leader Arlene Foster.

The edited image was shared hundreds of times.

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