Chair of Justice & Peace Letter to Ofcom over Channel 4 Documentary

22nd April 2020

Complaint to OFCOM
Regarding:  Channel 4  –  Dispatches – ‘The Truth About Traveller Crime’
From: Justice & Peace Commission, Diocese of Westminster

I am writing on behalf of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster to add our voice in complaint about the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme – ‘The Truth about Traveller Crime’ – which was broadcast on Thursday, 16th April 2020 at 9:00 pm. 

Within our Diocese, which covers most of metropolitan London and the county of Hertfordshire, there are many communities of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. Very many families in these ethnic minorities are Catholic and are well known to our priests and those providing pastoral care and practical support for them as an integral part of our diverse multicultural urban population.  

We have close knowledge of these ethnic groups and know how they feel keenly their marginalisation and discrimination by many in society. As Fr Dan Mason, National Catholic Chaplain for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, pointed out in his letter to you “almost every man, woman and child has suffered some form of hate and speech crime”. 

This programme was highly biased and sensationalist,  resulting in a grossly unbalanced and discriminatory picture of this unjustly marginalised group which Fr Dan Mason, the National Roman Catholic Chaplain  to the GRT Community, has already pointed out, “risks stoking racism against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities”.

Coming at a time when minorities in our society appear to be at greatest risk during this pandemic this was particularly irresponsible broadcasting. 

We would like to add our voice in requesting you to ask Channel 4 to apologise for this broadcast. 

With every best wish,

Yours Sincerely,

Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ
Chair, Justice & Peace Commission, Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster