On Thursday May 29 2019 Team Voice and Tom Gruchy appeared as witnesses at the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) REVIEW PANEL "PUBLIC" Hearing. We "New Media" (formerly known as "Social Media") were invited to sit alongside members of the "Old Media" (formerly known as Mainstream Media) to discuss a number of subjects/bullet-points. (below)
Unfortunately we only got the subjects/bullet-points the night before the Hearing which was nowhere near enough time to do adequate research but nonetheless, in the extremely short time we were given for the hearing (approximately an hour), we were able to hold our own.
Regular readers will know that the Panel went back on its word (pretended it didn't) and refused any media recording of all the "PUBLIC" Hearings as exclusively reported by VFC HERE. WE (New Media) were the only media to challenge this absurd decision as reported on in the above link. The Old media were compliant. So unfortunately were are unable to publish any video footage for the Blog. Which was our intention before the Panel went back on its word.
With the very limited time we had at the hearing, and the number of subjects to be discussed, it was an impossible, and unrealistic task and we should have been allocated at least a two hour slot and that's not counting the DAYS we would have needed if we were allowed to discuss the Old Media's role pre-2017.
Out of the Old Media it was only the Bailiwick Express and the Jersey Evening Post who had the courage to turn up. ITV/CTV and The BBC lacked that courage so credit to the two who did show up. Of course the Bailiwick Express was not around during the Rectangle Era, so had little, or nothing, to answer for. The JEP, and indeed ITV/CTV and The BBC were around and do have plenty to answer for so most credit should go to Andy Sibcy (Editor JEP). Sibcy wasn't the Editor around the time (Rectangle) the paper was doing its best to trash the Survivors/Abusees and those who tried to get them so-called "justice." We believe the Paper as come along way, for the better, under the Editorship of Sibcy.
The paper (alongside BBC, ITV/CTV) was relentless in attempting to discredit the Victims/Abusees, Lenny Haper, Graham Power QPM, Stuart Syvret and the Bloggers and should have been held to account for this at the (not so) Public Hearing.
However, The Panel was adamant the old media was not going to answer for its reporting before and during Operation Rectangle. At the very start of the Hearing the Chair, Francis Oldham QC, threatened to walk out if that line was going to be taken. Which begs the question "if we are going to ignore the "mistakes" of the past, are we not doomed to repeat them?" It would appear that the Old Media have (like a vast number of abusers) been let off the hook for its past crimes. It was the old "Jersey Way" war cry "let's not dwell on the past, and let's look to the future." So many crimes have been brushed under the carpet with that slogan and it looks like the IJCI Panel have adopted it also which is concerning.
Fellow Team Voice Member RICO SORDA, at the very start of the hearing said words to the effect: "The entire local MSM owe the Victims and Survivors an apology for its reporting during the Child Abuse cover-up." He is of course right. We cannot forget the further abuse Survivors/abusees were subjected to by the Old Media during the Rectangle Era. But, as mentioned above, Francis Oldham QC was having none of it and threatened to walk out (with the Panel) if we attempted to discuss anything that pre-dated the Panel's Report of 2017.
We should also point out that the Old Media, according to the latest SOCIAL SURVEY, only enjoys the confidence of 33% of islanders. It has a mountain to climb in order to win any trust back and by not dealing with its past failings it is difficult to see how this could happen. Bloggers, on the other hand, have earned the trust of Survivors/Abusees and whistleblowers through the years and continue to enjoy that trust. We (unlike to Old Media) can hold our heads high knowing we are on the right side of history and have spoken up for the truth.
Despite the almost impossible, and fruitless task, in holding the Old Media to account at the hearing, the Panel should be congratulated for attempting to get the Old and New Media round the table. There has always been a "them and us" attitude created by the Old Media and, although BBC/ITV didn't have the courage to turn up, we believe some bridges might have been built with those who did turn up and those who didn't have no intention of building bridges. The irony is that BBC and ITV/CTV could have got some much needed credibility just by showing up as Bailiwick Express and JEP did (from me anyway). And of course the Bloggers don't need to gain credibility from those who matter as we already have it.
We are pleased to say that the discussion around the table, at the hearing, was, on the whole, pretty amicable. We had an opportunity (albeit very limited) to discuss our differences and indeed similarities with the Old Media and it wasn't a completely useless exercise for which we thank the IJCI Panel for getting at least some of the Old and New media together. This is something the Old Media has resisted for years and still resisted by BBC and ITV/CTV.
Below (in an e-mail received from the Panel the night before the hearing) are the eight subjects expected to be discussed in an hour by up to 7 or eight witnesses.
.The public response through media/social media to the Inquiry report and child care issues
Have there been any barriers to reporting child care issues since July 2017?
.Whether people in Jersey have tended in the last two years to use media rather than official processes to highlight complaints
.Changing the tone of some debate and commentary to encourage more participation
In a climate of global concern about false and manufactured news and commentary, what safeguards are necessary to ensure accurate reporting?
In one of Wednesday morning’s public sessions, we heard very powerful pleas from (name redacted), a Jersey careleaver, cautioning against the media sensationalising complex issues and asking for more reporting of, and pride in, the positive developments in Jersey's child care services. On her behalf we want to ask: how can the media help with this?"(END)
Needless to say hardly any of the subjects were discussed but as mentioned above it wasn't a completely fruitless task and the IJCI Panel should be congratulated for getting the New and (some of) the Old Media round a table and we look forward to building bridges with those (of the Old Media) who look for the same.
We will look to publish the transcript of the Hearing as soon as it becomes available.
In the meantime readers might want to discuss/answer the questions set (above) by the Panel? Or do readers agree the hearing/subjects should have included the Old Media's reporting (or not) during the Operation Rectangle Era?