Dunne: Belfast Telegraph health coverage 'despicable'

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A DUP MLA described the Belfast Telegraph's reporting of health issues as "despicable", on 19 June 2014.

Speaking at a meeting of the Enterprise Committee. Gordon Dunne told executives from Northern Ireland's newspaper industry that "the negative stories about health in this country are absolutely scandalous".

Mr Dunne was also unhappy about reporting of the work of the Assembly and the Executive.

Dominic Fitzpatrick of the Irish News said "it wouldn't encourage people to pick up the Irish News each day if we led with Assembly business every day".

Green Party leader Steven Agnew wanted to know why the Belfast Telegraph had published on its front page a "zoomed-in" photograph of Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster crying at her father's funeral.

Sarah Little of Independent News and Media said she was concerned with the commercial activities of the paper and there was a strong line between commercial and editorial.

"Our editor is sitting behind me," she said.

Jean Long of Johnston Press, which publishes the Belfast News letter and numerous local papers, said, "We act with integrity at all times".

Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan said the Irish News carried opinion pieces written by unionists but the News Letter did not carry similar pieces from republicans.

Jean Long said they were "absolutely open" to the idea.

Representatives of the Consumer Council briefed the committee on the Alternative Dispute Resolution directive.

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