SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – June 2000

The stage is set for Euro 2000, the scripts have been written, and the cameras and the world's press are in position. The police in Holland and the other countries in which England will play are ready for action. All that is needed now is that the obliging volunteer dramatis personae of hooligans learn their lines well and follow their stage directions. Given all the attention paid to this small minority of English fans that occasionally causes trouble, violence of some kind is inevitable. And the media will seize on every example, no matter how trivial, to justify their apocalyptic predictions. Full Story.

Frightening JABS. The Independent has, for reasons which are quite unclear, given generous coverage to an organisation which seeks to turn back the clock on the prevention of meningitis. With a headline 'Teenager's death raises fear over meningitis jabs', and the claim that side-effects have called into question the safety of a nationwide campaign to protect 14 million under-18s against meningitis C, the story can only add to confusion and unwarranted fears among the paper's readers.

Where does the claim come from? It comes not from a recognised health department or research institution but from JABS, the single-interest, Brighton-based 'Justice, Awareness, Basic Support' group. This is a group which bases its case against all vaccinations solely on anecdotal stories. And even JABS' spokesperson, Isabella Thomas admits that there is no proof that that the MenC vaccine was responsible for any of the cases that they quote. She is quite happy, however, to encourage parents to believe that the injections are to blame, and says so. Full story