Most people’s understanding of Travellers is communicated in and through the media. Much of this coverage and attention has re-enforced negative stereotypical images of Travellers in Ireland today rarely however does it reflect the reality of the Traveller community itself.
Some segments of the media offer snippets and moments of Traveller’s lives, often biased points of view, along with controversial anecdotes. These are then turned into generalisations that portray Travellers in a negative stereotypical manner. This is then used to legitimise discrimination and exclusion towards them.
One gets the sense that in articles that treat Travellers unfairly, that Travellers are used as scapegoats in a society that can so easily shift blame for its wrongs to a weaker minority.
Journalists and their editors need constant reminding of the requirement to separate the reporting of fact from the presentation of speculations and comment, the need for fairness in handling allegations damaging to individuals, and above all a general sense of moral responsibility for the good of society.
Common Good, a statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, 1996