Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Jersey’s FREE PRESS for CLOSED MINDS
Is life passing you by?
Living in Jersey you might sometimes think so. The entire world – wide banking system was near to collapse a few months ago but not apparently here in Jersey. And politicians in the UK are up to their necks in sleaze – or call girls in Italy – but in Jersey, free lunchtime sandwiches are all we hear about (and they were exposed by a Deputy – not the “accredited” press).
And, when the UK media went after the bankers and hedge fund whizz kids and exposed their excessive bonus schemes and salaries – not a critical word was said here in Jersey about our own local big earners.
And when all that stuff about moats and duck houses and 1st and 2nd homes was filling our minds day and night – our local press played the “exempt” card – so unless we read it in Private Eye, we are always unlikely to learn about the financial dealings of our Chief Minister and his colleagues.
So it was no surprise after the UK bankers and politicians had been rubbished by the UK media that there would be a backlash and the journalists and broadcasters have been in the firing line for their own dubious practices and salaries. But, of course their exposure is all the more difficult because they control the press and other media and are less enthusiastic about revealing their own failings.
Not a great surprise then that the media in Jersey has not had to face a backlash because they don’t ever attack the important people in this island but concentrate instead on the evils of juvenile vandals and druggies or other “working class” deviants. No surprise either that BBC Jersey is not being pressed to reveal local salaries and expenses or spending budgets because nobody is asking any questions.
Yet since we all pay the same levels of licence fee into the BBC pot you might think that somebody here would want to suggest that Alan Yentob is not worth £325,000 per annum with a pension pot of £6 millions (according to the Sunday Times). And who in Jersey has even heard of Mark Byford and who cares if he has a pension pot of £7.7 millions paid for with our licence fees too?
Of course we have all heard about the astronomical payments to mediocre personalities such as Jonathan Ross - £18 millions over 3 years plus perks – but there is a whole army of lesser beings milking the BBC revenues and, for the most part we don’t even know their names. We most certainly don’t know how they behave.
It’s not just the top dogs either because it is claimed that the BBC sent more than 300 staff to cover a Kinross-shire 3 day music festival in July. Was that a good use of your money? More than 400 covered the Glastonbury Festival – almost as many as were sent to China for the Olympics. Did you watch or hear anything from Glastonbury?
So then what happens at a local Channel Islands level? Are you confident that Roger and Hamish are paid appropriate salaries for the job that they do and that Denzil sends appropriate teams to cover the most important or relevant events? Indeed, does the local BBC receive enough funding out of the central BBC Pot to provide the broadcasting service that is appropriate here. After all, Jersey has its own government, system of law, institutions and culture and even its own language – but does the service provided adequately represent this?
Of course, there won’t be a discussion about BBC Jersey or the other “accredited” media anymore than there is a critical discussion about bankers or politicians in the Channel Islands. At least, such discussions won’t take place within the constraints of the BBC, CTV, JEP, 103 cosy relationships – BUT the INTERNET does offer the opportunity for all of us to initiate our own discussions on any issues. Don’t let government here restrict “Free blogging” anymore than a “Free Press”. It’s all about the same free expression of ideas.
Proposition 112 must be scrapped.
Submitted by Thomas Wellard