Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

The Policing Board has warned that publishing images of children involved in street disturbances could breach their human rights.

But the News Letter comments that banning the publication of pictures sends out the wrong signal.

It describes the practice as a sensible alternative to running down dark and narrow alleyways chasing rioters.

"We expect our police officers to do the tough jobs in society," it says, "and in return we should make their jobs as easy as possible."

The Belfast Telegraph says we "need to be careful that the issue of human rights does not overwhelm, or at least impede, the pursuit of justice".

Ideally, it says, the police would catch rioters in the commission of their crimes, but that's not always possible without putting officers in greater danger or inflaming an already tense situation.

But it concludes that the use of images of juveniles "should be a tactic of last resort".

The Irish News leads with new claims about the former chief executive of Northern Ireland Water, Laurence MacKenzie.

Gray Sky

The sacking of Andy Gray as a Sky Sports pundit is given perhaps the largest volume of coverage of any story.

It's the lead in both the Mirror and the Sun, which both have different views on the subject.

The Mirror says a 1980s macho attitude towards women is unacceptable in the modern world.

But it thinks a better way forward might have been to insist that the commentator treated people with respect and fire him if he refused.

But the Sun says he has rightly been booted out of the park.

The Daily Express uses another sporting metaphor, saying his behaviour was well off-side. It thinks his dismissal may do some good far beyond the touchline. The Star concludes that he had to go.

The Oscars also make many of the papers.

There's even a local angle - the Irish News has a front page picture of Michael Creagh, from Belfast, whose short film The Crush is among the nominations.

But the big story, of course, is The King's Speech.

The Times has a front page picture of the three main stars - Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth. The Daily Telegraph opts for Helena Bonham Carter on her own.

The Times has a league table of nominations - the King's Speech is at the top, with 12. But its film critic is only confident of one win - Colin Firth as best actor.

The paper says it has that familiar lurching feeling that comes when England play in the World Cup or Andy Murray appears at Wimbledon.

Mystery proposal

Finally, several papers have the story of a soldier - thought to be serving in Afghanistan - who phoned home and proposed to his girlfriend, Samantha.

But the problem was that he dialled the wrong number and left his proposal on the answering machine of a woman he didn't know.

Diane Potts, from Gateshead, tells the Daily Mirror that he said he wouldn't be able to ring again for another month and wouldn't be home for three months.

Now the Sun is desperate to find out: "Who's the squaddie? And who's Samantha?"

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