Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

New Zealand news story linking rise in chlamydia cases to growing Irish population was 'inaccurate and discriminatory'

The story entitled ‘Luck of the Irish has downside in sex-disease stats’, linked the rise in chlamydia in the Canterbury district to the number of Irish emigrants working in the rebuilding of Christchurch
The story entitled ‘Luck of the Irish has downside in sex-disease stats’, linked the rise in chlamydia in the Canterbury district to the number of Irish emigrants working in the rebuilding of Christchurch

Complaints to a New Zealand newspaper article that linked the increase in cases of chlamydia to the rise in the population of Irish construction workers in the country have been upheld.

The article, printed in October, been criticised by the New Zealand Press Council.

The Press newspaper article, entitled ‘Luck of the Irish has downside in sex-disease stats’, linked the rise in chlamydia in the Canterbury district to the number of Irish emigrants working in the rebuilding of Christchurch.

The piece was accompanied by a cartoon of two men in green coats heading into a building sign-posted ‘STD Clinic’.

The first line read, 'Irish workers helping with the rebuild are sharing the love but it seems they are also contracting sexual diseases'.

The article was also carried by website stuff.co.nz.

Following official complaints to both the two publications and the Press Council arguing that the linking of the data was inaccurate, the New Zealand Press Council noted that the article concedes that there is ‘no concrete figures’ to analyse the increase in the spread of the sexually transmitted disease.

The report read; “The link between the Irish nationals and the chlamydia statistics was of the newspaper’s making and not supported by any reported information. The Council upholds the complaints on this limb.

“Likewise the headline “Luck of the Irish has downside in sex-disease stats” is inaccurate and this complaint is upheld.”

The Press Council also upheld complaints that the piece was discriminatory.

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