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Anger over BBC Drumcree film

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

Nationalist residents at the centre of the Drumcree dispute have accused BBC Northern Ireland of carrying out a "PR job" for the Orange Order in a documentary.

The programme, Behind Orange Lines, followed Portadown Orangemen for a year and was screened on Monday.

Film-maker Iain Webster said it showed "earnest Protestant men and women who want to be understood".

"They see themselves as victims of a clever campaign by republicans to vilify them. And they know that in the past they've fallen into every trap," he said.

However, Breandan Mac Cionnaith, spokesman for the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, said members were considering reporting the programme to regulators for failing to show "both sides" of the dispute.

"No-one was approached to appear in the programme or even asked what they thought about the issues," he said.

"It showed only a very partisan view of what Drumcree has been about. It made no mention of the up to 10 or 12 people who have died as a result of what happened at Drumcree.

"It was a great PR job by the BBC on behalf of the Orange Order. For the BBC to broadcast a programme about one of the issues that was one of the most volatile periods in the last 10 years at a time like this is unbelievable."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said the programme was not meant to be a "hard news" look at the issues.

"Behind Orange Lines is an observational documentary depicting a year in the life of a Portadown lodge and its members," she said. This style of filming, with no script and no narrator, seeks to provide a different kind of perspective but ultimately leaves it up to the audience to make its own judgment."

September 19, 2005

This article appeared first in the September 14, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

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