Discussion by: Simon TuffenIn its editorial comment today, The Independent on Sunday newspaper apologised for its part in the failure of the British press over the past 23 years to bring the authorities to account for the Hillsborough tragedy. I would respect this apparently honest and entirely voluntary apology were it not for the fact that the British press remains quite astonishingly uninterested in pressing the government and police into launching a full public enquiry into the role of the hierachy of the Catholic Church in protecting pedophile priests.
When it wants to be, the British press can be voracious in investigating and exposing corruption: just take a look at how many newspaper pages and TV news hours have been devoted to the scandal of a few celebrities having their phones tapped. The coverage given to that scandal, where none of the celebrities were physically hurt, far exceeds the coverage of physical abuse of thousands of children. Even the case reported a couple of weeks ago involving the Church of England warranted only a few paragraphs in the papers. How can this be?
It has been said by many people that if the scale of abuse carried out by priests had been carried out by teachers or health workers, or members of any other institution with access to children, the investigations by the press, police and government into those institutions would have been unprecedented in scale.
So, is this an appropriate time to call on the press to end its bewildering apathy towards the horrific crimes committed by officials of the Catholic Church?