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Celtic fans go greetin' to OfCom


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Thank you for your complaint about comments made by Gerry McNee on the above programme.

We have considered the remark in light of Rule 2.3 of Ofcom?s Broadcasting Code which states that:

?In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of ?context? below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.?

The Code goes on to define context as follows:

?Context includes (but is not limited to):

? the editorial content of the programme, programmes or series;

? the service on which the material is broadcast;

? the time of broadcast;

? what other programmes are scheduled before and after the programme or programmes concerned;

? the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of any particular sort of material in programmes generally or programmes of a particular description;

? the likely size and composition of the potential audience and likely expectation of the audience;

? the extent to which the nature of the content can be brought to the attention of the potential audience for example by giving information; and

? the effect of the material on viewers or listeners who may come across it unawares.?

The background to the Scotsport discussion was an SPL match between St Mirren and Celtic which took place the day before the programme was transmitted. We understand from the programme that the St Mirren stadium announcer applauded the home fans for not responding to allegedly sectarian chanting from the away support. The programme?s presenters then began a discussion on this with the panellists Gerry McNee and John Colquhoun.

Mr McNee criticised what he considered to be sectarian singing by Celtic fans attending away matches and also by Rangers fans at Ibrox. He referred to a number of songs sung by some fans and then said: ?Get all of that Irish tosh out of Scottish football.? These comments were certainly provocative but they must be seen in the context of a studio discussion on a topic that will inevitably provoke strong opinion. Whilst we fully understand why you were offended we do not believe there has been a breach of the regulatory requirements and I will explain the reasons why.

The context of this programme and the expectation of the audience must be considered, bearing in mind the indicators listed above. Scotsport is a football highlights and discussion programme aimed at football fans in Scotland, an audience which is fully informed about issues such as perceived sectarianism, which has often been linked to some sections of fans here. Given this context, the inclusion of a comment that may otherwise be viewed as offensive is justified.

It should also be borne in mind that ?Irish tosh? was not a reference to Irish people but a reference to material (songs) that the guest felt strongly had absolutely no relevance to or part to play in Scottish football. We do not believe from the context that these comments were designed to impugn Irish people in general. We accept that the words of some of the songs mentioned are not sectarian as such and draw on historical traditions. However in our view Mr McNee was criticising some sections of supporters who use or abuse these songs to play up rivalry in ways which have sectarian overtones. In addition, the panellists did not confine their criticism to the one club; Rangers and Hearts were also mentioned in this respect.

The potential for Mr McNee's remarks to cause offence was also lessened by the inclusion of other, mixed views during the programme. There was a scrolling text bar message from one viewer saying ?I would like to know if the St Mirren announcer knows the difference between a sectarian song and a folk song. I was at the game and Soldiers Song is not sectarian and neither is the Fields of Athenry?. Another message, described as from a Celtic fan said ?I also hated to hear some of the songs sung at Paisley on Sunday.? After the discussion, a presenter read out two e-mails which he said were from Celtic supporters one of whom said that the stadium announcer had got it completely wrong: ?Singing republican songs does not make you sectarian.? The other e-mail was quoted as follows: ?As a Celtic fan I am disgusted by the section of bigots we had on Sunday and they should be ashamed of themselves.?

In considering the complaints received we have taken into account the view of colleagues in Ofcom?s Office in Belfast who concur with the assessment in this letter.

We appreciate the trouble that you have taken to raise this matter with us. Even though we will not be pursuing your complaint on this occasion, it is important for us to know what the audience thinks.

http://bristolceltic.blogspot.com/2006/12/...-whitewash.html

Oh the pain caused by McNee saying 'all that Irish tosh,' nasty man.

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Guest orangpendek

biggest irish tosh in scotland IS mcnee. he's been saying for decades he wants to retire to the republic and only come over to follow man u. well, dear gerry, no one is stopping you...

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