Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Accreditation and Accountability

Recently retired Jersey's Deputy Chief Police officer Mick Gradwell (or was it the States Comminications Unit?) went on - what might be described as - an unprecedented , media assault on a fellow professional.

He was afforded a three part "interview" by Channel Television and our local BBC as well as given front page headlines and a double page spread in the Jersey Evening Post.

Mick Gradwell went on to make all kinds of critisisms and offer his opinions on Lenny Harper and his team's handling of the child abuse scandal that had rocked Jersey to its rotten core.

Gradwell made statements such as the alleged child's skull fragment "turned out to be coconut" and the digging up of HDLG was "a waste of time and public money" and many more "questionable" claims.

Lenny Harper (in the opinion of Team Voice) had no choice other than to respond to these very damning and reputation wrecking statements. Mr. Harper replied with a THIRTY ONE PAGE and 16,500 word posting on Senator Syvrets Blog HEREwhich includes documented EVIDENCE, and not just opinion. How many of those 16,500 words have you seen published/broadcast by the same,so called, accredited media that gave Gradwell such a free run?

Senator Syvret (to the best of our knowledge) published Lenny Harper's response in it's entirety . That Mr. Harper should choose to give his reply to a Blogger and not our local accredited press is a story in itself!

Two days ago Deputy Roy Le Herissier asked the Home Affairs Minister (Senator Ian Le Marquand) to make a statement regarding the actions of the outgoing Deputy Police Chief and his comments made in the media. Senator Le Marquand went on to use words like "inappropriate" and "unprofessional". Although Deputy Roy Le Herissier ought to be applauded for his question, we are not sure it was the right one and does not go far enough.

To our thinking the question(s) should have been along the lines of "how is it a man can be given such a forum or soapbox, like almost our entire local "accredited" media to discredit a fellow professional"? "How is it that somebody could make so many claims and not be challenged by the interviewers or "journalists"?. "What was Gradwell's (or the States Communications Unit's) motive"? And possibly more to the point "what was the "accredited" media's motive"? "what did he/they hope to achieve? "What was the purpose of this media campaign?
Should Senator Le Marquand have said that it was the local media that was "inappopriate and unprofessional"?

Which poses a few more questions or dilemmas. How is it that the local accredited media can take the opinions of one man and print, or broadcast them, unchallenged knowing they could wreck, not only the careers, but the lives of those mentioned? Before printing or publishing any of this didn't the local accredited media have any kind of obligation to substantiate ALL of the claims being made? Don't they (in this case) have any obligation to warn the abuse victims this media campaign was about to take place? Didn't they have any obligation to take into account the damage that could (and has) been done to some victims? Where is the accountability of the accredited media?

So although Deputy Roy Le Herissier's question should be applauded there are equally important issues that need addressing and serious questions need asking in the States on the role of our accredited media, their motives and their accountability.

It isn't the role of citizens media or Bloggers that needs to be looked at. For instance, if a Blogger, or member of the public wants to film a public hearing we are told we can't because we are not accredited (whatever that is) so therefore lack accountability! The same goes if we want to film a public Scrutiny Hearing. We are told we can't film because we are not accredited, we have no accountability and the best of the lot is we might misrepresent what was said at the meeting............and the meeting is Freakin Transcribed by States employed staff!

So we urge States members to stop trying to legislate against Bloggers and take a look at what the accredited press are doing (or aren't doing) and consider just how unaccountable they are?

Submitted by Team Voice.


  1. Ground breaking facts today in The States about The Communications Unit and evidence to follow....

    Yet Local BBC, who have been covering the sitting all day had no mention of it on their 6-30 TV News!?

  2. They are afraid - they are VERY afraid.

    The Gradwell affair was a gross injustice and a disgrace to Mr Harper, and how telling that he refused any accredited media outlet to issue his response.

    This response was warranted and justified, and I feel more of the public chose to believe his version rather than that trotted out by Mr Gradwell.

    It was a disgrace that the a/c media chose to glorify Mr Gradwell's version of the HdelaG affair without balancing it against Mr Harpers.

    By filming and reporting public meetings, openness and honesty are presented to the public and also the performances of our States Members. THIS is why they are afraid of Citizens media, and so they should be.

  3. Deputy Wimberley's written question No 1240/5(4755) aka Q 15 on the 21st September and Answer from Senator Shenton should be read very carefully by anybody with an interest in Free Speech etc.
    In brief, it explains about the Working Party that is being set up to examine media issues and this will consist of CM Terry Le Sueur, Senator Shenton and Constable Gallichan.

    Be very afraid.