‘Outrage against religion and public morality’

The story was a straightforward piece of reporting. John McAnulty, a haulier and grain dealer with an alleged involvement in smuggling, was abducted and killed by the IRA, suspected of giving information to police.

The Sunday World article outlined what was known about his life and death, including the identities of the IRA squad behind his abduction and murder.

It’s relevant to the Smithwick tribunal for two reasons: McAnulty was identified by former RUC officers as the source of a Garda collusion allegation, and the detective McAnulty named, former sergeant Owen Corrigan, had written a confidential security report about the abduction.

But what struck me, as I looked up at the report, was the picture used to illustrate the story. John McAnulty’s body, dumped on a lonely roadside in South Armagh.

Nobody at the Sunday World was arrested because of that picture. It was as controversial as the photographs published by the Mauritian Sunday Times. This wasn’t an isolated incident. Just last Autumn the RTÉ website published a photo of Muammar Gaddafi’s dead body. It’s still there.

Imran Hosany may be guilty of bad judgement. He wouldn’t be the first. But bad taste is no excuse for arrest and censorship.

Enda Kenny has an opinion. Image via Flickr/Fine Gael

Update: According to my twitter feed, others who were published in Irish media after death include Garda Jerry McCabe and Michael Dwyer.

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