Further to legal threats by David Quiinn of the Iona Institute against two Trinity College newspapers.
Rónán Burtenshaw, editor of Trinity News, responds:
On February 6th, 2013 we reported that David Quinn, head of Christian conservative think-tank the Iona Institute, had issued legal threats against The University Times over articles they had published the previous month. The news story can be read here.
On February 8th a lecturer in the Law School of Trinity College, Dublin, Dr. Eoin O’Dell, who is acting on our behalf in this case, informed us that Mr. Quinn’s solicitors had made contact in complaint at the article. This was followed by three solicitors’ letters in which Mr. Quinn’s representative made five demands in relation to the story: that it be retracted, that we issue an apology for its publication, that we offer Mr. Quinn a right-of-reply inside the next print edition, that we offer his representatives editorial oversight over a subsequent article on The University Times‘ settlement of their case, and that we make a contribution to Mr. Quinn’s legal costs in pursuing this case. We were unwilling to meet these demands.
In settlement we offered to correct a factual error contained in the article by means of clarification. Despite this offer being rejected we added this clarification in the interests of accuracy on the 11th of March: “This article initially stated that Mr. Quinn “contested” Google’s claim that the Iona Institute’s YouTube account was not closed for reasons of censorship. In fact, while he initially contested this, he later accepted that this was an “automatic procedure on their part“.”
On March 13th we also ran a news story on the University Times’ settlement with Mr. Quinn. This article can be read here. We did not give Mr. Quinn’s representatives editorial oversight over this article, but we did include reference to the clarification we added to the original news story.
We have encouraged Mr. Quinn and his representatives to pursue this matter through the Press Council but, at the time of writing, the threat of legal action remained outstanding.
Some details of this case were published by UCD student newspaper The College Tribune on April 1st.
Trinity News’ position is that we stand by our reporting and are prepared to defend it.