Thursday, February 22, 2024

Power and the media


Exaro debate raises the flaws in the relationship between government, the media and the police


On Wednesday night just off London’s Fleet Street, Exaro hosted their first debate and asked the question: “Did the media ever hold power to account?” Chaired by the investigate news source’s editor-in-chief Mark Watts and featuring a panel that numbered the academic and former Evening Standard features editor Glenda Cooper, The Sun’s editor-in-chief Tony Gallagher, the freelance lobby journalist and former Guardian Westminster correspondent David Hencke and the screenwriter, author and crusading journalist Peter Jukes, this was an event that – like the publication that hosted it – dared to delve into questions that other parts of the media would rather avoid.


ower and the media – Exaro debate the relationship – David Hencke, Tony Gallagher, Peter Jukes and Glenda Cooper were the four panelists on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 in London
David Hencke, Tony Gallagher, Peter Jukes and Glenda Cooper were the four panellists


At a time when there are more PR practitioners than journalists and Greenpeace are paying more than The Guardian to recruit members of the press to their causes according to Cooper, the balance of power in the relationship between the media and government (and the police, as Jukes rightly added) has changed. This shift, the panel felt, has not necessarily been for the better but what shone through, is that the mainstream media has somewhat been usurped by social media also.


Whilst Gallagher – who confirmed he would increase The Sun’s investigative reach during his tenure – pointed out that social media is not a “reflection of the real world” but simply an “echo of likeminded people”, Jukes saluted whistleblowers such as Snowden and suggested: “It takes brave individuals to reveal stories… We are all journalists now and there moments when we can all hold power to account”.


Gallagher delved further and argued that “the relationship between the police and the media has collapsed” and that “the police’s refusal to reveal information is the scandal of the age”. Though he referenced examples where the police have protected “the privacy interests of killers, rapists and murderers over and above that of public interest” in failing to cooperate with the press, Hencke did concede that he had “better faith in them now than at any other time in the last thirty years” given they are “trying to get their act together” [in preparation for a forthcoming inquiry into their operations].


Other points raised came in the form of questioning of Exaro’s approach to their investigation into historic VIP abuse from a member of the audience, James Gillespie of The Sunday Times. Though cheered on by a female audience member who shouted: “You wouldn’t put a corpse on trial” – in reference to specific comment about Lord Janner’s forthcoming trial of facts – both Hencke and Jukes were firm in their rebuttals. Jukes concluded that Exaro have “pushed at a door” and “led the way but it is the courts that now should now do the work” whilst Hencke took a more defensive line and remarked:


“We have reported what the police said… If you look carefully, this is a complicated matter… It is one of the most difficult things for journalists to investigate. It involves acts that occurred in private, are historic and lots of information… What Exaro is doing is to put together a lot of bits of information”.


An aside in the debate occurred when Tony Gallagher declared he’d had “a very fine dinner with Chris Grayling last night” in response to a question about Freedom of Information Requests. He continued: “We had a general discussion. I hope I’m not embarrassing him… I don’t kid myself that Mr Grayling wanted my sparkling wit and repartee”. Those of us who joined Exaro in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese afterwards were lucky to be able to indulge in both from a fascinating array of attendees and what surely must be commended as an especially fine panel.



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    1. I think newspapers have lost their appeal simply because there are very few journalists able or willing to print the truth. Stories published today are constrained by politics. Social media is a threat to newspapers because there are now so many people ready to capture the truth of a story on video with an iPhone and social media can’t be manipulated.

      A perfect example of this was the story about the boy washed up on the Turkish beach. Despite the true facts of the story emerging on social media, we haven’t seen any newspaper print the full story or damn MSM for using an extremely sad event to promote mass immigration into Europe. Nor have there been calls to prosecute the father of the boy for a very minimum of manslaughter.

      Bring back the true investigative reporters who are prepared to publish and be damned!

      • The truth is as precious as gold…Kerry McCarthy bizarre statement that meat must be treated the same as tobacco, makes me think. The woman presents with delusions of grandeur and control freakier a distinctive feature of the Socialist Elite Britain the land of the free and the home of the brave”, but today there are millions of laws, rules and regulations that tightly regulate our daily lives. Most of these laws, rules and regulations were established by people who believed that they had “good intentions”, but at this point the “nanny state” has become so oppressive that it is strangling the life out of us. If you look back throughout history, the societies that have really thrived have had a very high degree of liberty and freedom. When the bureaucrats get the upper hand, it can suck the life out of any economy. Unfortunately, our political system seems to be a magnet for control freaks. These control freaks truly believe that they know better than the rest of us and they are systematically moving toward taking total control of our lives. Our rights are being stripped away a little bit more with each passing day, and we are being told that we need a “permit” or a “license” for almost everything. Many younger voters have been living this kind of “straight jacket existence” for so long that they don’t even remember what real liberty and freedom are. We are steamrolling down the road toward totalitarianism, and most citizens don’t even realise what is happening. Protect our children from sunbeds? What about sexual abuse? The arrogant woman thinks she is our mother and knows what is good for us. The social media and alternative media speak the truth today. Don’t let the far Left Wing bluff you.

    2. I was impressed by the general openness of all the speakers when approached after the event. I hope investigative journalism will be invested in, it can make people like myself more secure when dealing with rebuffs and worse from authorities turning away and covering up CSA. I wrote my book An Oath To Hell due to the silencing I received, I may attempt going back to the police as I’ve made so many contacts to turn to should another smear be attempted to cover the tracks of all the devastatingly bad policing that put me and others in danger before.

    3. I think the first duty of any journalist/newspaper is to investigate ‘all’ the leads they can. With relation to the Midland inquiry, Exaro cancelled several appointments to meet me, Nov, Dec last year, and in Jan, Feb, of this year. They missed out vital leads that they could have used to speed up that enquiry.

    4. I agree with Tina there is very little investigative journalism today. Once upon a time it was ‘publish and be damned’ and we had proper investigative journalism but Mr Max Moseley and his lawyers put paid to that, following the exposure of his sleazy lifestyle of whips and hookers in dungeons.

      Moseley embarked on a witch hunt which led to the closure of the paper that exposed his sleazy lifestyle.What a shame that is, and what a duller day Sunday is without the News of The World.

      Today all we seem to read about is Caitlyn Jenner and her tacky money grabbing offspring.

      Where are the scoops the exposes today?. All we have is an army of interns who have just left journalism school copying and pasting rubbish at Associated Newspapers, they would not know a scoop if it hit them on their Luis Vuitton jacket.

      Where were the press when the vile Tessa Jowell was running for Mayor?.

      Did they dig up her murky past married to the chief money launderer for the Italian Mafia and the many bungs he received? (David Mills)? Hell no!.

      Did they do a little research and discover she was the woman who said she would ‘throw herself under a bus for her then leader Tony Bl.iar?.


      Did they publish the fact that this woman blocked some excellent research into obesity when she as Minister for Culture and Sport stopped a move to remove tuck shops from schools and the 25% extra expansion of chocolate bars. Hence the obesity epidemic we are seeing in British children.

      Thank you Tessa! as you relax in your hot tub at your Warwickshire mansion.

      No worries for you. That is the country estate readers where Tessa installed cameras to spy on her Colombian staff to ensure they would not be taking a sneaky dip in her pool or cavorting in the hot tub like her pal Peter Madelson and his Brazilian toy boy.

      Did the press write about his coming up to the elections? Absolutely not.

      Did they cover the fact that this bitch wanted to introduce ‘Mega Casinos’ on every high street in the UK and is responsible for our 24 hour licensing and increase in binge drinking.

      Did they write about Jowell being responsible for introducing the ‘Crack Cocaine’ of gambling in every high street i.e. the one arm bandits which catches our youth when they are young and foolish and leads them into a gambling addiction.

      Did they publish the fact that Jowell continues to use the name of her former husband the South African Jowell who had links to Sol Krezner and his Sun City Gambling Empire?

      Hell no.

      Despite the fact she has been Mrs. Mills for the past 15 years and her maiden name is Palmer.

      Strange That!.

      No all we see is the vile Mrs Jowell grinning manically from the society pages glass of prosecco in hand in her olive green leather jacket and wildly patterned trousers.

      Mutton dressed as lamb, here is a woman in her late 60’s who looks as hideous as the ‘Turbo Liggger’ that she truly is.

      Thank the Lord this woman did not get elected to the Mayoral candidacy for Labour.

      Londoners had the good sense to see through this vile woman.

      But if it were left to our lazy press there is a chance she may have got through and we would have been stuck with her grinning face and corrupt ways for the next four years.

      • I gather you don’t like Tessa, she is a self serving opportunist with a gambling addiction. A self proclaimed feminist who was married to a crook and knows Sol Kerzner too. She would have made a bent Mayor of London. The mainstream media is too obsessed with the Jenner’s and equal marriage and transgender issues. It is a circus, or perhaps they are running scared or have a indifference.

    5. Italians despise Jowell’s husband David Mills as much as they despise Berlusconi who dragged their country into bankruptcy and sky high unemployment.

      In Italy Mills is referred to as the ‘Money Launderer To The Mafia’. For over 20 years he has been Berlusconi’s right hand man, carrying out his shady deals and dirty work.

      And to think that not one journalist held Jowell to account when she was running for Mayor of London!

    6. You have to love this. A hilarious account of how Gypsies set up camp next door to Jowell’s £1million country retreat where her pals Mandelson and his Brazilian toy boy play footsie in the hot tub. The same estate where she set up cameras to spy on her staff in case they use the pool or hot tub in her absence.

      Nothing like a gypsy encampment next door to play havoc with the value of a country

      So much for New Labour.


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