Friday, 24 October 2008

Why Blog?

The question "why do people Blog"? has been asked many times by many people including our local BBC. I can only speak for myself but know others Blog for the same reason.

It is widely believed we have a very partisan media over here. We also have, what has been described as, "an elected dictatorship" with none of our elected "representatives" being accountable to anybody for any thing.

Senator Stuart Syvret on his Blog has been publishing items one would believe would make headline news. The internet is full of stories ranging from alleged establishment spin doctors bullying, progressive, senatorial candidates mothers at hustings, to senoir civil servants being served with a notice of disclosure and indeed has named this civil servant in the States sitting which went out live on local BBC radio.

I have been trying to find out if what Senator Syvret is claiming has any truth to it regarding the name of the civil servant allegedly being served with this notice of disclosure. I have gone through, what I believe to be the correct channels in order to do this. I have e-mailed the civil servant directly, I have phoned the civil servant, in order to meet with him/her, not been able to talk to him/her and up to now have only spoke to his/her secretary who up to now will not reply to my request for a meeting.

I have e-mailed the minister responsible for this civil servant to ask if there is any truth in Senator Syvret's allegations, have phoned the minister and have attempted to engage with this minister only to be told "we have a duty of care to our employees" and the minister has made a complaint of harrassment against me.

I have been "forced" to take my concerns to the local media, namely the local BBC. It appears they see nothing in my experiences that deserves to be in the public domain. The fact a Senator and father of the house makes these truly frightening allegations I attempt to find out, through the correct channels, if there is any truth to them and for my troubles? a charge of harrassment made against me!!

So why Blog? well what other choice is there? do I want to be Blogging? hell no! I am living in constant fear, like many others, because I have dared to speak out and share my experiences in the hope others will know they are not alone with the same or similar experiences.

I am no Journalist in fact far from it! so therefore am not familiar with libel laws and everything else that goes with publishing stories/experiences on the internet. I am a father trying to protect his children. It turns out in order to do this I have to run the gauntlet of libel, defemation and harrassment laws.

It has become increasingly apparent if you want any answers to legitimate questions that might reassure you you're children are safe under the "care" of this goverment you'd better be ready to face prosecution, with no help from certain parts of our local media. Indeed having to go to the local media in the first place shouldn't have to be an option, if we had an open and transparent government who put the "duty of care" to the people who elected them and their children before the "duty of care" to their employees there would be no need to involve any media including Blogging.

I am merely a product of my enviroment, this government has propelled me into a position I have absolutely no wish to be in. I believe by being forced to Blog my experiences I have/will become "an enemy of the State" and now an enemy of the local media. I have no wish to be an enemy of anybody least of all such powerful organisations. But it appears my choices are shut your mouth and bury your head in the sand and everything will be rosy, or stick your head above the parapitt and risk having it shot.

In order to prove I believe I have been forced to Blog my latest experiences I shall re-produce my e-mail correspondance with a prominant local BBC Journalist. I don't even know if I am allowed to publish the journalists name as his/her position is not paid for by the electorate/taxpayer. None the less I hope it will prove I have tried to bring this into the public domain without having to Blog about it.

The E-mails.

Dear sir/madam
Thank you for returning my phone-call this afternoon and explaining to me why I am not allowed to repeat what Senator Syvret said in the states sitting yesterday, on the radio.
As I explained to you I was under the belief the BBC and myself were protected by "qualified privilege" and you have now explained to me that isn't the case.
I would very much like it made extremely clear I have no wish to defame anybody. I am merely a parent of two children under the "care" of the said department.
I suffer greatly with anxiety which is triggered greatly when I read and hear that a very prominent civil servant in the said department might be a suspect in an on-going child abuse investigation and nobody will either comfirm nor deny these allegations. One reason being "the States have a duty of care to their employees".
I believe the first "duty of care" should be for the children and indeed the parents of the children. I would like to offer you a news story, I believe deserves to be in the public domain.
It is my story of how a very anxious parent tries to get confirmation or denial of a senior civil servant who might be a suspect in child abuse. I have asked the particular civil servants secretary if I could have a meeting with the civil servant, I have e-mailed the civil servant, I have e-mailed and phoned the minister in charge of the department all to no avail.
As a very concerned parent I believe I should have the right to know if one of the people charged with the "care" of my child is a suspect in a child abuse case. I believe I should have the right to know if the states of Jersey have been issued with a notice of disclosure concerning the said civil servant.
All this has been denied me and possibly many others. Surely this deserves to be in the public domain?
I truly hope you will consider running this story as I believe it is a travesty, that a leading politician can make these allegations, which puts the fear of god into me. Only to discover it appears I have no right to know if his allegations are correct.
Dear voiceforchildren

As I explained on the telephone, we have been working over a prolonged period of time to substantiate the allegations made in Senator Syvret's blog. To date they remain unsubstantiated.
In addresseing your personal concerns and anxieties, you may care to listen to Jersey Today tomorrow morning at five past eight, where we will be able to broadcast the results of our on-going work to date.
After our conversation today, we have again re-visited the story and we have been running the following story this afternoon:
Jersey police served a disclosure notice about a senior civil servant to his employers, as part of their inquiry into historic abuse.
Question were raised in the States yesterday over whether the senior civil servant should have been allowed to continue working.
A disclosure notice warns an employer that one of their employees is being investigated for alleged crimes -but does not imply guilt.
Roisin Gauson reports.
Yesterday in the States, Deputy Roy Le Herissier asked the Chief Minister what happened after the police issued a disclosure notice against one of Jersey's top civil servants.
He suggested such an employee should be suspended as a precaution, in a neutral manner which did not imply guilt.
The Chief Minister Senator Walker said he would not discuss individual cases but was satisfied the matter has been handled in the correct way.
Senator Stuart Svryet then used parliamentary privilege to name the civil servant in question.
Senator Svryet was reprimanded by the Deputy Bailiff who said he was well aware that he should not name individuals unless it was unavoidable.
You can hear more in tomorrow's Jersey Today, at five past eight.
Best wishes.

Perhaps I did not explain my situation thoroughly enough for you so I will try again.

Before I do that I would like to say I took your advice and listened to the today programme this morning. I am sorry to say I found it somewhat "hollow" or perhaps "shallow" and certainly nothing like "investigative". That is not a critisism it is merely constructive feedback from a listener with no journalistic qualifications.

However back to my "situation" It appears the local BBC and myself have the same problem. You have told me you have been either investigating or researching Senator Syvret's allegations concerning a very high ranking civil servant alledgedly being investigated for violent physical abuse on children.

Despite all your researching and investigating it appears you have only ever come across a brick wall and are unable to substantiate any of these claims.

Well you and I both! the severity of these allegations should not be underestimated nor "hushed up" The story I wish you to cover is exactly what you too appear to have experienced.

A democratically elected representative of the islands electorate informs his electorate that the very person trusted with the "care" of our children is (alledgedly) under investigation for serious violent abuse against children and if a parent, and now it would seem a journalist, were to ask for any kind of confirmation or denial of the allegations, ask why the said civil servant has not been named, why the civil servant has not been suspended, who decided the civil servant should not be suspended, how he/she came to the decision not to suspend the civil servant.

I am frantic with worry my children could be at huge risk if Senator Syvret's allegations have any truth to them at all. Nobody in Jersey will do anything to put my mind at ease, seemingly under the guise of "we have a duty of care to our employees". What about "the duty of care" to our children and the people of Jersey? Why does a parent not have the right to know whether their children are safe under the "care" of the States of Jersey?

As a proffessional Journalist, if you are telling me you see nothing here that deserves to be in the public domain, I can only see Blogging and citizen media, in a matter of time, becoming bigger and more popular over here and possibly becoming "mainstream".

On another note I was hoping to phone Roger Barra on the phone in today to unreservedly apologise for my comments yesterday and explain that I must have been ill informed with the "limitation of qualified privilige" and that now you have put me right. Could you tell me if I will be permitted to do this?

I trust and hope you can see a legitimate news item in my very worrying situation, which I'm sure is shared by many, many islanders especially parents.

Dear voiceforchildren,

If you are concerend about the welfare of your children, you must contact the Education Department and or Social Services.

You are always welcome to offer yourself as a contributor to the BBC Jersey phone in and/or Talkback.

You can be assured we are working constantly on this issue and are devoting our investigative resources to the matters you raise.

We work closely with the BBC's legal department and at present they advise us it is "legally unsafe" to name the person in question

I can't but help think you might be taking the p1ss out of me. So I'll not waste too much more of both of our time and effort.

What I might suggest is you look over the e-mail correspondance between us where I have explained I have contacted the said department, the civil servant and more and have only come up against a brick wall. Which again is the story I would like the BBC to cover.

In order to prevent wasting any more of our time and effort. Could you explain to me as a proffesional independent journalist how you see nothing in our correspondance that deserves to be in the public domain?

I understand you may be busy but I am still waiting for a reply and answer to my question(s) in my last e-mail to you (above).

On top of this Senator Syvret has posted on the internet that Jersey does follow England with the law of absolute privilege, and qualified privilige and claims the media are able to report the name of the civil servant. You have told me that Jersey does not follow England with this law. Could you please clear this up for me? in order to help me understand why the media will not name this civil servant.

And naturally I would like to know how you might see nothing in our correspondance that deserves to be in the public domain.
Dear voiceforchildren,

Thank you for your email.

If you are concerend about the welfare of your children, I strongly urge you to contact the relevant authorities. The BBC in Jersey cannot help with private matters between you, your children and the authorities.

I refer you to the BBC Producer Gudielines - avaialble online and in the public library with the regard to the reporting of parliament - like The States.

As I have explained previously, our lawyers have advised us it is "legally unsafe" to name the people involved.

This correspondence is now closed.

Yours sincerely

I am absolutely distraught you see nothing with my situation that deserves to be in the public domain. The fact that you have refused to give me direct answers to direct questions is also very concerning to me.

Our correspondance regrettably only adds fuel to the fire we have a partisan media over here which alarms me even more and leaves me no other option than to Blog about my experiences.

I am sure you are confident with your decision to close our correspondance and see nothing that desrves to be in the public domain from it. However I strongly disagree with you I am a parent frantic with worry and despite all my best efforts have only come up against brick walls from the States of Jersey and now the BBC.

Blogging is the only hope I have left
I have done everything I can to conceal the identity of the said civil servant and the said journalist in order to avoid any kind of prosecution. Also as I am somewhat computer illiterate the paragraphs are not publishing with the same seperations I am writing them, I don't know how to remedy this but hope you the reader(s) can see past this.


  1. I would send that correspondance to the complaints department of the BBC. How can they not see a news story there? or maybe they are trying to protect somebody?

  2. Your doing a great job keep it up!

  3. Your blog is next!

  4. Re: "your Blog is next!".

    Next for what?

  5. More threats, not you again Jason.

  6. The BBC tend to play safe, especially post-Hutton, when they were well and truly sticthed up. They ask their lawyers who will not unnaturally err on the side of caution. With regard to naming said civil servant, it is probably wise to follow suit, and the easiest option is simply to link to Stuart's blog where the name is mentioned, so that you do not actually mention the name yourself.

  7. What are you going to do this time Jason Roberts? We all know who VFC is, so you can't do much by revealing his ID! What are you going to do? VFC has done nothing illegal, so you can't touch him there. Physical assault? Is that what you have in mind? Would you really be that stupid?

  8. Jason Roberts leave VFC alone. He is only trying to make Jersey a better place to live in by blogging. Why do you think Ozouf is so great?

  9. Re; threats and JTM.

    I have recieved threats and have no idea who it is threatening me.

    I have no wish to get into the JTM wars or any Forum wars. My stance is, from what I have read and experienced. The person who has been posting as JTM and apparently many other aliases is possibly a very dangerous, even deluded individual who has attempted to sway public opinion through various forums and Blogs.

    If he wishes to reply to the comments left on here about him then that's fine. But I will not be publishing any more comments on the subject of JTM.

    I have only let a couple through because I understand peoples frustrations with his actions which do appear to be deplorable.

  10. I don't think you are breaking any law in repeating allegations that someone else has made on another site and as a parent you are also quite within your rights to ask questions as to the allegations ...

    Is this 'jason' also called 'jack' who posts on stuarts blog?

  11. There is a concerted effort by one sad individual to destroy everything that is even remotly anti-establishment.

    Ignore him and don't feed him.

    Give him 2 fingers VFC.
    We have lost 3 great blogs, don't let yours be the 4th