Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Blogging Censorship continues

Deputy Bob Hill who is a supporter of citizens media tabled a question, to the States today and this is how it read.

“Will the President advise whether the Chairmen’s Committee has decided to prevent members of the public from filming at scrutiny hearings, and if so, will the Chairman explain why the decision was made, what consultation, if any, took place and does the Chairman consider his Committee’s decision conducive to the principles of openness and accountability?”

We (The Voice) will publish the chairman Ben Shenton’s answer in full when it is released on Hansard. In the meantime, the decision to discriminate between Citizens Media and our ever so dutiful “accredited” Media stands. Several members of the States spoke on the subject and sounded sympathetic towards the freedom of Citizens Media. But let’s not kid ourselves here, the censorship “foot stampers” are still the majority.

Fellow Blogger Senator Stuart Syvret gives us his views (see video). I did ask some “anti’s” for their view including Senator Sarah Ferguson, who sits on the panel that dreamed up this discriminatory nonsense but needless to say she declined………….

P.S. Sorry about the audio quality (the noise of the wind) but I am still paying for the camera and can’t afford a decent mic yet, perhaps Scrutiny might sponsor us?????


Rob Kent said...

Keep up the good work. We need a well-informed citizen media to counteract the bland, uninformed accounts of the world we get from the traditional media.

For a good account of how the mainstream news media (including the 'quality' broadsheets) has become a willing vehicle for PR and propaganda, see Nick Davies' excellent book Flat Earth News.

The sad truth is that we, as citizens, can no longer rely on the traditional news media as a source of accurate information for what is happening in the world.

Not only do they not cover most of what is important and relevant to us, their coverage of their narrow selection is deliberately non-controversial and 'neutral'. And by neutral is meant, they don't bother to investigate below the surface of accounts that are given to them.

Basically, there is very little sleuthing happening, and if there is, it is normally squashed by editors with a heightened sensitivity to commercial and political pressures.

Jersey is not unique in this although there are some special factors that amplify the tendency to blandness and suppression.

Without an accurate account of reality, populations are easily duped by politicians and powerful corporations who manage public opinion through the media with virtually no impediment.

Consequently we need other sources of information, such as your blog, provided by people who are not subject to commercial or political pressures.

rico sorda said...


well done for landing senator Syvret.

Citizen media is the only way forward, i have learnt so much this past year,if i had been relying on just the local media well best not go there..

Keep up your great work keep fighting


Anonymous said...

Power to your elbow, (and camera) excellent, your doing a wonderful job.

Dan said...

This whole "accredited media" issue causes me some concerns. This seems to be something thought-up by governments, so as to maintain control over journalism.

Where does this end? Will we soon see "accredited authors", and non-accredited books banned from schools and libraries, because they don't want the kids reading them?

Things like this need to be fought against, on all fronts, before it goes to far.

Rob Kent said...

Dan, good point.

A large proportion of the 'stories' that we get delivered to us through the mainstream media are either PR-related or bland copies taken verbatim from 'official sources', that is, powerful interest groups who want to set the news agenda.

Commercial and political pressures (along with ideological conformity on behalf of the press owners and editors) ensure that the stories are not properly investigated to see if they are true.

Very little further work is done by the newspapers to uncover information related to the stories. Hard-pressed journalists may have time to make a few phone calls to check their facts but, even then, they merely accept what they are told.

By simply printing two conflicting accounts of an event, the media can claim to be unbiased and objective. But they have a duty to discover and print the truth, not just repeat what they are told.

There are a few exceptions to this, and there is some true investigative and conscientious journalism happening but you have to dig around to find it in some of the broadsheet investigations and a few of the worthy news channels, such as Channel 4 News. The rest of it is not even worth wasting your time with.

Sadly this leaves us with a big hole in our information about the world. That hole is not necessarily filled by blogs, which are mostly just opinions based on facts taken from the same unreliable news sources.

However, there are encouraging signs that true citizen journalism is taking off and that some blogs, such as this one, are drilling down into details and refusing to accept the official account of events.

In addition, there are sites such as WikiLeaks and numerous others that are repositories of information that is well-founded and evidenced but which the powers-that-be would like us not to know.

It's true that you have to be selective and separate the wheat from the chaff, but you should be doing that with any information offered to you, whether it's coming from mainstream news or elsewhere.

The good thing about the Internet is that we are no longer just passive consumers of what they want us to hear. Nor do we have to go through official channels to have our voices heard. For example, how many of the critical opinions voiced on the Jersey blogs would have been printed as letters in the JEP? Very few I think.

Governments all around the world are arming themselves to censor the Internet. They already have the technical apparatus in place. All of the ISPs in the UK currently apply the government's blacklist to Internet addresses so that you could not even go to them even if you wanted.

This is done ostensibly to stop access to illegal pornography, which is good and we all support it. However, the Australian blacklist was recently leaked and published on WikiLeaks. It was revealed to contain not just child pornography sites:

"But about half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn and include a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist."

Recently added to the Australian list was the WikiLeaks leak itself and a US anti-abortion site.

We all know about Chinese censorship of the Net but how long before 'liberal governments' start adding 'politically sensitive' sites to their own lists?

For example, if you really wanted to know what Al Qaida want or think, you should be able to visit one of their sites and make up your own mind about it. But if that site is either on the government blacklist and blocked by your ISP, or access to the site is being monitored by the state (soon to be law in the EU, along with all social networking sites if the British Home Secretary gets her way), you are either prevented or scared from getting access.

So, while there is a lot of white noise in the blogosphere, we should still be supporting and encouraging it. In fact, we should be trying to find systems and procedures to develop it beyond mere opinionating to real investigative journalism.

I'm hoping that something more formal will spring up out of blogs like this, in the sense that the same story is factually checked and covered by two or three angles by independent bloggers.

When governments are able to lead us into wars on the basis of lies, we need a space to contest the facts.

Póló said...

Keep up the good work.

Citizen's media works.

I worked in Jersey in 1961 (British Railways - St Helier) and thought it a fantastic place. I made many good friends and am saddened to see it degenerate into a plutocratic tax haven on which the plug is about to be pulled.

God help the ordinary folk who are the real Jersiais.

thejerseyway said...

Well I think you have come of age.
The JEP haven't got a clue whats hitting them, now they get the news from your Blog.
What ever next, the states getting polices from you.
Citizen media is working well, in some eyes may be to well. But they can't do a thing about it.
You must put a lot of time into it, Keep it up you've got something big going on here & you can only get better.