27 Dec 2009

THE PCC's CODE OF CONDUCT

Every member of the press follow what is known as the PCC’s Code of Conduct. It sets out what press journalists should do in ethical situations and to maintain them to the highest professional standards possible.

It is essential that it is followed to the letter and honoured by those who follow the code. It is therefore the job of the editor to apply the code to any material they wish to publish either printed or online. They should take care to ensure it is observed rigorously by all editorial staff and external contributors, including non-journalists.

Editors should co-operate swiftly with the PCC in the resolution of complaints. Any publication judged to have breached the Code must print the adjudication in full and with due prominence, including headline reference to the PCC.


1 Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

iv) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.


2 Opportunity to reply

A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.


3 *Privacy

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent.

Note - Private places are public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.


4 *Harassment

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on their property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

iii) Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.


5 Intrusion into grief or shock

i) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings, such as inquests.

*ii) When reporting suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used.


6 *Children

i) Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.

ii) A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.

iii) Pupils must not be approached or photographed at school without the permission of the school authorities.

iv) Minors must not be paid for material involving children’s welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.


7 *Children in sex cases

1. The press must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 who are victims or witnesses in cases involving sex offences.

2. In any press report of a case involving a sexual offence against a child -
i) The child must not be identified.
ii) The adult may be identified.
iii) The word "incest" must not be used where a child victim might be identified.
iv) Care must be taken that nothing in the report implies the relationship between the accused and the child.


8 *Hospitals

i) Journalists must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue enquiries.

ii) The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to enquiries about individuals in hospitals or similar institutions.


9 *Reporting of Crime

(i) Relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story.

(ii) Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who witness, or are victims of, crime. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.


10 *Clandestine devices and subterfuge

i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held private information without consent.

ii) Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.


11 Victims of sexual assault

The press must not identify victims of sexual assault or publish material likely to contribute to such identification unless there is adequate justification and they are legally free to do so.


12 Discrimination

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.


13 Financial journalism

i) Even where the law does not prohibit it, journalists must not use for their own profit financial information they receive in advance of its general publication, nor should they pass such information to others.

ii) They must not write about shares or securities in whose performance they know that they or their close families have a significant financial interest without disclosing the interest to the editor or financial editor.

iii) They must not buy or sell, either directly or through nominees or agents, shares or securities about which they have written recently or about which they intend to write in the near future.


14 Confidential sources

Journalists have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information.

15 Witness payments in criminal trials

i) No payment or offer of payment to a witness - or any person who may reasonably be expected to be called as a witness - should be made in any case once proceedings are active as defined by the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

This prohibition lasts until the suspect has been freed unconditionally by police without charge or bail or the proceedings are otherwise discontinued; or have entered a guilty plea to the court; or, in the event of a not guilty plea, the court has announced its verdict.

*ii) Where proceedings are not yet active but are likely and foreseeable, editors must not make or offer payment to any person who may reasonably be expected to be called as a witness, unless the information concerned ought demonstrably to be published in the public interest and there is an over-riding need to make or promise payment for this to be done; and all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure no financial dealings influence the evidence those witnesses give. In no circumstances should such payment be conditional on the outcome of a trial.

*iii) Any payment or offer of payment made to a person later cited to give evidence in proceedings must be disclosed to the prosecution and defence. The witness must be advised of this requirement.


16 *Payment to criminals

i) Payment or offers of payment for stories, pictures or information, which seek to exploit a particular crime or to glorify or glamorise crime in general, must not be made directly or via agents to convicted or confessed criminals or to their associates – who may include family, friends and colleagues.

ii) Editors invoking the public interest to justify payment or offers would need to demonstrate that there was good reason to believe the public interest would be served. If, despite payment, no public interest emerged, then the material should not be published.


The public interest

There may be exceptions to the clauses marked * where they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest.

1. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:

i) Detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety.

ii) Protecting public health and safety.

iii) Preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.

2. There is a public interest in freedom of expression itself.

3. Whenever the public interest is invoked, the PCC will require editors to demonstrate fully that they reasonably believed that publication, or journalistic activity undertaken with a view to publication, would be in the public interest.

4. The PCC will consider the extent to which material is already in the public domain, or will become so.

5. In cases involving children under 16, editors must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interest of the child.

26 Dec 2009

Queen's threats to the papers

Last month the Queen threatened legal action against any paparazzi photos that would be published in newspapers of the Royal Family doing “private things” even if it is in public places. The story broke across the newspapers and television, and whilst listening to This Morning on ITV the threat sparked rumours that it was because the Royal Family wanted privacy so Prince William could propose to his long time girlfriend Kate Middleton. However, these rumours were rejected by those at Buckingham Palace as they said Kate would not be invited to dine with the Royal at Christmas and William’s military commitments meant proposals were out for this year. But could this threat now mean the Queen has jumped on the Human Rights wagon which so many celebrities have done the past few years; including Elton John and Max Mosley.

The Human Rights Act gives people the right too many things; section 8 concludes everyone has the right to privacy for his or her family life without intrusion – unless it breaks the law. The Daily Mail’s article said that there was growing concern that the Queen is attempting to obtain a privacy law ‘by the backdoor’. She believes that the family is constantly followed by a small group of paparazzi and that she should have the right to privacy even if she is the Queen.

What do you think? Should the Royal Family be allowed to have certain amount of privacy or do you think because they are the most famous people in the country they have a duty to accept they will be photographed? My opinion is that many of the royals were born in to the family and obviously have no say in how famous they could be. But i haven’t seen stories or photographs about many of the Royal Family in the newspapers for a very long time! So i am not sure why the Queen is threatening legal action against newspapers and photographers when her privacy is not broken all the time. As the Queen i think she should accept that there is a limit to the press wanting to be around her but i don’t think they are constantly there all the time.

The Human rights act is seeing its fair share in the spotlight as celebrities use it as a defence to stop the press from writing stories of photographing them especially when they have done something bad. But there are always two sides to every story. Many celebrities use the press to make them more famous (example Katie Price aka Jordon) but then when the press publish a negative story the celebrity throws a spanner in the works and tries to use the new Human Rights Act to push back the press. So what next for the Queen and the press? Could she refuse them entry to her anniversary next year using the defence of “your invading my privacy”?

13 Dec 2009

British people are become increasingly impatient!

A few weeks ago in the Daily Mail a came across an article, apparently Britons have become so impatient that an average person take only 8 minutes and 22 seconds to snap!

Research showed British people were so used to the high speed internet that when they have to wait for something many saw their blood boiling quicker than ever before. “70% of us see red if forced to wait longer than a minute for a web page to download” the article said. Thinking about the story it made sense as i began to decode my impatient nature i started to chuckle that i am most probably one of these ‘impatient’ average British people.

The article continued that after 5 minutes of being kept on hold by a call centre many people throw themselves in to a rage. The research was carried out by the telecom giant TalkTalk who spoke to more than 2,050 people to see what makes them tick. Another interesting fact is that after receiving a text or voicemail message on your mobile phone the average person excepts a reply within 13 minutes, oh and if you are one of these great people who visit households for the reasons of fixing gas or electricity etc be warned; if you turn up more than 10 minutes and 43 seconds late you can surely expect a very angry person to open the front door!

The text message figure i believe to be quite true, even for me i am a very impatient person. I like to have things when i want not be left on hold, get a reply from the person i am talking to or i throw myself in to a mood! Yes unhealthy for myself? I gathered that. I must raise my own blood pressure and not these impatient situations. TalkTalk says that because of the speed we have with internet many people think that they should have the speed of internet in the normal lives; which obviously is impossible. But it makes you wonder what we are turning out lives into? Are we becoming so intertwined with faster technology that we are allowing it to make us angry people in the long run? ... Possibly. But as we are living in an age of technological advancements the worse culprits for expecting fast services are those 18-24 year olds who were brought up with internet. The research showed that they would only wait 10 SECONDS for a page to load up!!! That is by far extraordinary what we put ourselves through.

7 Dec 2009

Nature V's Nurture - Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers naturally born killers?

I always imagined walking a dog in the park with the sun beaming through the clouds and a cool breeze in the air as one of life’s favourite free luxuries, but getting slapped across the face by a lady as soon as I let my dog off the lead is defiantly one of my least favourites. Who nowadays expects to be attacked at mid day in the middle of a crowded park on the hottest day of the year? I didn’t either! But it happened; and to my astonishment I sit writing this now still shocked as the actions of this woman. Yet I am the type of person to wonder why, so I asked myself why she acted the way she did. I drew a blank until I read about a similar situation in the newspaper, it suddenly dawned on me that the reason she attacked me was because of the breed of dog I owned. She attacked me because of a Staffordshire bull terrier running around in a park? That is unreal to even consider but many people in society are so scared of these animals because they believe that they are vicious creatures that are so unpredictable it is likely to pounce or mule anyone who comes within five feet of it. I know from personal experience that this breed of dog isn’t as aggressive as people think it is. Society needs to understand the truth about Staffie’s and it is going to start here.

Staffordshire bull terriers originated in the 17th century when dog fighting suddenly becoming popular, a dog was needed which had more strength in its head then the Bull dog. Staffie’s (as they are now known) had a combination of Bull dog and terrier blood making it courageous and muscular. They were known for their ferocity in the fighting pit but their temperament made them excellent companions and brilliant around children, but not other dogs. In 1835 the Humane Act banned all dog fighting and a group of Staffordshire men fought to keep the breed alive by introducing it to the show world, and the Staffordshire bull terrier was born. The UK Kennel Club’s primary objective is “to promote in every way, the general improvement of dogs”, and they officially recognised the breed in 1935.

The Staffordshire bull terrier has retained its attribute passed down through years of dog fighting but is the ONLY breed to have the words ‘totally reliable’ in its breed standard and is only one of two dog breeds the Kennel Club sees as suitable and reliable with children. So why does the Staffie attack children nowadays and why does some newspapers print stories about this breed being unpredictable around children when behaviour experts have labelled them safe? There are a few factors as to why this could be; the nature verses nurture issue as I have already mentioned, it could be the media amplification of the attacks creating a moral panic in society – I think this is probably the reason why the lady hit me in the park! She assumed my dog would be vicious because she had read that the same breed attacked a two year old; it’s ridiculous you can’t draw an opinion on a breed of dog by focussing on several bad ones.

The much loved pet is Britain’s fifth most popular dog and now has been labelled ‘aggressive’, ‘unreliable’ and ‘vicious’ producing a stigma which is hard to removed. Debbie Gross, 45, and per partner Mark Hawes, 38 have owned a Staffordshire bull terrier for ten years and are disgusted that people could think this animal is dangerous:“Bounty is very loyal, playful, affectionate, loving, excellent with people and just a loving dog” says Debbie. “She likes to go to people in the park and be pampered, just like a little girl she loves getting attention and being stroked.” “It’s the way I brought her up to be good and not vicious”, adds Mark who brought the dog at jus six weeks old. “If you bring them up and treat them right they are loving, gorgeous loyal dogs; but if you have a Staffie and you wanted it to be vicious then you will teach it to be vicious. But with my experience with Bounty we have brought her up to be loving, kind and gentle dog which she is; she was only a pup when I had my daughter they were both babies together and I can honestly say I was never once scared that she would do anything to harm her” says the mother of two from Enfield.

In 2008, the BBC wrote an article concerning the increasing ‘rough deal’ being given to the Staffordshire bull terrier breed. In the article it highlights that somehow the canines are being outcasted by a large section society which was once a nation of dog lovers. Breeder Veronica Brown says: “Because of their appearance, certain types of people think they’ve got themselves a fierce dog and in fact they’d far rather be in front of the fire having their tummy tickled.” The media have not facilitated in the situation regarding Staffordshire bull terriers, in all honesty they have made the situation worse; they print the most unpleasant stories and use them to create a moral panic in society over the so called ‘vicious and dangerous’ Staffie’s.

Newspapers sole function is to inform the public but another objective is to sell newspapers, and bad news sells because it makes the audience feel better about their own lives. “The press would rather go for the negative story then the positive story, when do you see a positive story on the front any newspaper, there all the negative things and perception amongst the press is that negative stories and sensationalism that sells newspapers”, says Chris Laurence, Director of Veterinary at Dogs Trust in London. “I don’t think Staffie’s are aggressive at all, dogs behave in the way they are trained and reared”, he also believes that social groups are keen to own bull breeds like the Staffordshire bull terrier because they believe it is a status symbol one lad said this to him at an RSPCA centre in London: “I got a dog for my protection. If I carry a knife I can be arrested by the police”. It is these types of irresponsible dog owners that are create a “dangerous” label of Staffie’s because they make their dogs become aggressive. “Its nurture not nature that makes Staffie’s attack, you can train any dog to be aggressive. Even a Golden Retriever” says Chris.

You the audience allow the media to inject their opinions into your minds by showing you negative images of Staffie and you believe they are all vicious. The constant bombardment of negative press on Staffordshire bull terriers means society has misconceptions on the animal and has become so scared they are abandoning the dogs in record numbers, according to experts at Dogs Trust. “It’s the dogs that suffer at the end of the day as they become expendable. If you look at the numbers of dogs that go in to Battersea dogs home as being abandoned, in London about 50% of them are Staffie’s under the age of six months old”.

To think that someone could buy a puppy and abandon it at a road side or throw it out of a moving car window is sickening yet it is how some people in society get rid of unwanted items, the worst cases are they kill these dogs because they are not what they imagine them to me i.e. vicious. So why does society still believe that these great family pets are vicious? Is it because they have hurt or killed in the past? If you look at the numbers it is only a rare number of people have been serious hurt or killed by Staffie’s and even those most probably have attacked because of the way they had been trained to by their owners. How is a dog supposed to understand that biting someone is wrong when is the only thing it has ever been taught by its human trainer? Shouldn’t we blame the owner for its behaviour; you can’t judge a breed of animal by the actions of a few rouge dogs. But we do. We continue to believe that Staffordshire bull terriers are aggressive when experts who have researched and tested the dog say the complete opposite.

The theory of whether nature of nurture is the factor behind Staffie’s attacking humans cannot be proven or disproven, but the evidence but the article you have just read provides clear evidence from experts that Staffordshire bull terriers are only aggressive when they are taught to be not naturally. So as you take your children down to the park remember that us as humans make our own choices and form our own opinions. When you next see a Staffordshire bull terrier in the park, don’t become like the lady who attacked me in the park. Remember what you have read her, and understand that animals only know how to behave through the way we teach them.

25 Nov 2009

Mariah Carey ... The biggest diva in town!

I was reading The Sun newspaper this morning and flicking through the pages as i do every morning i came across the funniest story i have read in weeks!

The NIB or news in brief was found on page 3 describing how the famous singer Mariah Carey needed help to sit down while being interviewed for the ITV breakfast show GMTV!!! Now as i was reading this my mind aced with many thoughts of if she hurt herself; broken leg, arm, cut or bruises, yet nothing could prepare my sides for the amount of laughter i was about to put them through.

The whole story was that Carey had her aides help her sit on the sofa so that she did not crease her dress! *laughs while shaking my head in disbelief* Yes everyone i did say what you think i said, your eyes are not deceiving you.

GMTV presenter Kate Garraway revealed the extraordinary behind the scenes story, she also told The Sun how Miss Carey had to be filmed from her best angle and even brought her own toilet roll. As i continued to read the story my laughter continued. This is GMTV. One of ITV's biggest shows and celebrities believe what? ... They the bosses would use tracing paper as a substitute for quality toilet paper?

DIVAS! YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE ... this is the 21st century!!!! Nearly everywhere has quality toilet paper, why do you need to bring your own? If i had seen that i wouldn't of been able to resist myself not asking her why she carried her own. Does it has "M C " designed on the front of it so it can only be used exclusively by her? Maybe, maybe not. Yet  still think it is funny speculating if she does or not.

But going back to the creased dress? Why are so many celebrities becoming increasing obsessed about looking perfect? Do they not understand that perfect doesn't exist? This makes me think about Kate Moss and her motto of keeping slim is better then eating. Why are we trying to emulate these stars? They are not doing anything for our self-esteem or our confidence in being ourselves.

From now on laugh at these silly actions by so-called divas. In my opinion these actions are pathetic and they should be sitting there hanging their heads in shame.

24 Nov 2009


FREEDOM of INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOI)

A Labour government brought in the Freedom of Information Act when they came in to power to give people the legal “right to know”. It became LAW in JANUARY 2005 giving people the right to require many “public authorities” to disclose information. It is made so that no financial charge is imposed on finding this information – HOWEVER there are conditions to this which i will say later on. The Act makes it easier for journalists and researchers to find out evidence and facts.

Well... as an up and coming journalist; that makes me smile loads!! Especially if i need to find out some interesting facts regarding an investigative article i am writing.

Many major and minor bodies are caused by the FOI act including; armed forces, national government departments, House of Commons, House of Lords, universities plus loads more. The UK’s security services including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are exempt from responding to enquiries and requests from the public using the FOI; courts, tribunals, housing associations and charities are also exempt from request via the FOI act.

The Act works by a request being made by an individual to a public authority. They then have 20 days to respond by either supply the requested information or by responding the reason as to why it can’t be given.

This could be because:

1. They don’t hold the information

2. The request would exceed the cost limits for the provision of the information

3. Information requested is covered in some way by exemptions under the act


The Act requires authorities to offer ‘advice and assistance’ to anyone requesting via the FOI act, but sometimes they do not help journalists or individual people. The Act also says that under it the authority can’t deny the information if they have it because of what the story may be about. There are costs to requesting information in certain circumstances; it is free if it is less than £600 when contacting national governments and £450 with local councils and police forces etc. If a payment is necessary then the authorities can supply the information still if the requester agrees.
 
As i have mentioned there are exemptions to the act. Absolute exemptions mean the authority do not have to tell you why the information isn’t available, only that it can’t be obtained. These include:

SECTION 21 - information accessible by other means and not the FOI

SECTION 23 - information supplied by the security services like MI5 or MI6 and dealing with security matters

SECTION 32 - court records i.e. documents used in cases

SECTION 40 - personal information

SECTION 41 - information provided to the authority in confidence by another party

SECTION 44 – information the disclosure of which is forbidden by other laws

If the information is not supplied within the 20 days limit then the requester can ask for an ‘internal’ review to see why a failure happened.

Weaknesses in the Act

• No statutory timescale for the internal review to be completed

• No timescale for the public interest test to be done

COPYRIGHT LECTURE - its powerful stuff!

Copyright is a law created to protect individual people’s property whether it is made or created from the skill, time or labour. A famous example is music made by a particular artist; once originally done by them it cannot be re-made and sold as someone else’s hard work – UNLESS the original creator has given consent.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (copyright act) protects any:

• Literary

• Dramatic

• Artistic

• Music work

• Sound recording

• Film

• Broadcast

• Typographical arrangement

All of the above includes photographs taken by an individual and any graphics made; although COPYRIGHT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE REGISTERED. It is said in order to be protected by Copyright it must past the test of originality; in the past slogans and catch-phrases have not been awarded protection because they are too trivial.

Copyright in News Stories

There is NO copyright in facts, information, news or ideas used in news stories; EXCEPT for the creation, placement and way the story is formed because that constitutes an individual putting their own time, effort, skill and labour in to producing it in that particular way. Also lifting quotes from other news stories can be an infringement of copyright for the same reason. If people send in letters etc they allow the newspaper the right to print them however and whenever they wish but only once! But the original owner keeps the copyright license.

In television it works slightly different. As a journalist things like copyright can be a powerful tool to cripple your career. There is so much that i didn’t know when i began reading up on copyright and when i got to the end i had to re-think certain articles i have written myself, especially when i read the excerpt about you could still be infringing copyright if you use quotes. Any television images that are published without permission, whether they are whole or substantial amount of the photo is still infringing on section 17 of the Copyright Act.

Broadcasting Act 1990 states if someone provides a broadcast service they must make any information about the programme to any newspaper or magazine published through a licensing scheme. If there are any problems that Copyright Tribunal decides on the matter. The Copyright Act also extends to spoken words even it not in scripts as soon as they are recorded. Photographs from social networking sites can be obtained very easily, because of downloading accessibility and the infringement of copyright is still able to happen from the website and person who uploaded the photo on the site.

Defence of Fair Dealing

You can use copyrighted work for the purpose of reporting current event as long as you attribute the author. There is no defence of fair dealing when it comes to photographs. A court would be entitled to refuse to enforce copyright if the works was:

1. Immoral, scandalous, or contrary to family life;

2. Injurious to public life, public health, or safety, or the administration of justice;

3. Incited or encourages others to act in a way injurious to those matters


There is copyright in the layout of newspapers and magazines because the typographical arrangement used by individual companies. However in 2001 The House of Lords rules that a cutting out of an article from a newspaper is not copyright. All types of copyrighted material has a length to it, once this has expired the copyright will be ended. Written copyright is 70 years AFTER the death of the author; whereas broadcasted material is AFTER 50 years.

Criminal convictions are not normally given to journalistic activity and more on video piracy. Although, in 2008 the government began talks to increase the criminal penalties of infringing copyrighted material and extending the maximum fine a magistrate’s court can impose to £50,000. The easiest way and the most common in the UK today of copyright is illegal downloading of music using software such as Limewire. Millions of people have done it and are probably still downloading music in this way, but the last few years the law has begun to close the net on these people who copyright music because it is cheaper than buying the CD.

I can understand why copyright against artists in the music business is bad because they lose money as people are not buying the CD’s as thus they can’t take a portion of that money for themselves. I am not going to sit here and tell you if i have illegally downloaded music ... because quite frankly that is silly! But i will say that for those who use Limewire ... be careful. One question i will leave you with comes from a rumour i heard a year or two back in where the police, artists music company and Internet Services Providers are teaming up to track exactly how you get your music... Are you being watched?

17 Nov 2009

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Today’s lecture we mainly focussed on investigative journalism – as the class began there was only two of and we were asked what we believed investigative journalism meant. At this point i began to kick myself very hard (this is figuratively speaking of course but if i could of actually kicked myself i would of done) because before the lecture begun i looked up what we would be drawing upon in the lecture form the core site, and i had read exactly what it meant. Yet ... when it came to the crunch i clammed up, my mind went blank and i choked. Fortunately for me i redeemed myself by coming up with what i thought it meant by sheer “winging it” and of course racking my brain to try and remember what it had read less than 2 minutes previously... Thank god; because it worked!!

The definition from De Burgh is: “discover the truth and to identify lapses from it in whatever media maybe available … distinct from apparently similar work done by police, lawyers, auditors and regulatory bodies in that it is not limited as to target, not legally founded and it is closely connected to publicity”.

I roughly said that investigative journalism is stories that are off the agenda and are not the ‘ordinary stories’ that you would necessarily find in newspapers or broadcast bulletins. I was right, ish ... but that was good enough for me. Chris continued to tell us (as more people filtered in to the lecture) that these type of stories usually came from tip off’s from sources – but what was interesting is that i always believed that investigative journalism focused on the hard hitting, extraordinary stories that once broke would unleash havoc on those who read it because it was truly a shocking story. But i was wrong! And i gladly admit that. They can also take the form of things like a story about fashion but the different between normal news stories is that the journalist initialises the story. To fully understand it think like this ... it’s similar to a news feature: you have a story, you have the leg, you research it and after all the interviews you deliver it. Many of IJ (investigative journalism) stories come from financial corruption including fraud, money laundering and drug/human trafficking. But as i have mentioned above some could be light weight pieces including examining the rubbish bin of Ton Cruise.

We than begun to talk about the huge Emile Zola and the Dreyfus case that rocked France in 1898. On Thursday 13th January 1898 Emile Zola wrote an article for a Paris literary newspaper called “L’Aurore” or The Down translated in to English. The article was on the miscarriage of justice against Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was convicted of treason in 1895 against France. Dreyfus, who was a French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish decent, he was accused of having communicated military secrets to the German Embassy. He was sentenced to life in prison and sent to the penal colony at Devil’s Island in French Guiana where he was placed in solitary confinement ... until Emile stepped in and saved his life.



Even after new evidence emerged two years later in 1896 accusing French Army major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real culprit of the crime, the evidence was suppressed by the French government because the man was a high ranking military official and he was later acquitted. Dreyfus continued to stay on Devil’s Island until Emile Stepped in and saved his life with his article “J’accuse”; which was published on 13th January 1898 on the front page. The article was in the format of an open letter to the president at the time Felix Faure and he accused the French Army of perjury and anti-Semitism by wrongfully convicting the Jewish captain of treason.



In the article of which made Zola famously known as “The Father of Investigative Journalism”, he declared that the evidence against Dreyfus was falsified. Zola was accused of criminal libel on 7th February 1898 and was convicted on the 23rd of the same month. He was later removed from the Legion of Honour; at this point he fled to England rather than being jailed. After a little time he returned to watch the fall of the government in France. Dreyfus was never exonerated for treason but was given a pardon by the French government which he chose to accept; even though accepting the pardon meant he was admitting his guilt and could therefore be re-trialled. The case successfully ended in 1906 when the Supreme Court completely exonerated Dreyfus of treason.

Investigative Journalism was the only reason that Dreyfus’ case was heard by those in France at the time. Many of the people in government did not want to hear that high ranking officials were committing treason and others were covering up the scandal – did they believe that admitting the betrayal to the country would mean the country would turn their backs on them? ... Isn’t that what half the country did anyway?

Investigative journalism doesn’t always cover stories like a miscarriage of justice, but large stories with huge scandal need further investigation, which sometimes does take the form of posing as someone else in order to get information. An example is the journalist who enrolled as a police officer in Manchester to try and uncover bullying and racism in the lower ranks. The Secret Policeman (BBC) - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3210614.stm was a very heavy story that focused on infiltrating the police force to investigate corruptness. If you would like to see what happened please click on the link. Popular investigative journalism stories nowadays include the organisation called The Innocence Project, where law and journalism students work on cases of miscarriages of justice – there are currently more than 70 cases being worked upon with a few being sent back to the courts from an appeal.

The lecture then started to discuss “The Watergate Scandal” which exposed political manipulation in the Forth State as. The whole scandal formed because two reporters found evidence that a “burglary” in the Watergate shopping centre was staged so that President Nixon could bug his rivals campaign office and he knew about it all, the journalists got a tip off about it and set out investigating to find evidence; which they did.

Washington Post staff Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward read the headline on the post on Sunday June 18th 1972 stating “Five held in Plot to Bug Democratic Offices”. They believe that this was a cover up and started investigating, where they found that things were not as they first seemed. They reported that $25,000 check that was supposed to be for President Nixon’s re-election campaign had been deposited into one of the Watergate burglar’s account. The tip off came from someone they called “Deep Throat”, it was later shown that Mark Felt a high ranking official at the FBI was the confidential source; they promised to keep his identity secret. The real name only came out 33 years later in 2005 and the world found out the true identity of Deep Throat.

The two reporters found evidence that Nixon knew and order the people to break into their rival’s campaign office to plant bugs for him, during this time Nixon recorded all of his conversations (at the time not known by the reporters). Chris Horrie then went on to explain that during a night of talking when the two journalists thought they had no other options a cleaner told them that Nixon recorded all of his conversations... and their-in laid the evidence that The Post needed to break the scandal. However Nixon refused to admit about the tapes and had them destroyed to cover his own means and motives. In 1974 Nixon said that he had made mistakes but did not break any laws, he said he had no prior knowledge of the burglary and did not know about the cover up until early 1973. He continued to say that releasing the tapes would harm future chief executives http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/part3.html

On July 24th 1974 the Supreme Court ordered the White House to hand over the tapes to the special prosecutor conducting investigations in to the scandal. When Nixon released the tapes a week later, it showed a conversation on 23rd June 1972 showing that Nixon HAD (contrary to his constant appeals that he was innocent) played a direct role in the cover up of the Watergate Affair since the beginning. The tapes became known as “the smoking gun” tape. The announcement of this tape ripped apart the last remaining support Nixon ever had and he faced being thrown out of his presidency if he didn’t resign. On 8th August 1974 President Nixon resigned. The last speech he said to staff at the White house said this: “Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself”.


Vice president Gerald Ford was sworn in to office on 9th August 1974 and a month later he gave a full pardon to former president Nixon for all crimes “committed or may have committed” during his reign in the White House. Although the affair was over, the influence was not. Many people in society felt betrayed by the government in America over their cover up. The scandal appointment special prosecutors to look into all allegations of presidential wrongdoings, the Watergate Affair changed the way America was forever.

It became noticeable when Chris took us through the Daily Mail’s publishing of article accusing 5 men of murdering Steven Lawrence (even though they had been found not guilty at court) that the government can be incompetent when prosecuting. After the trial of these 5 men the Mail’s front page stated “MURDERERS” – this was a comment by the Mail as they followed by saying “The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue.” This was significant because criminal law and civil law is completely different!! It forms a GAP and this is what the newspaper used. The newspaper would have been held for libel if the accused had sued but they didn’t. Why??

Well we found out the reason why... Criminal law standards are set out that any one accused need to be proved they are guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” BUT civil laws standard is “balance of probability”. This means ... that even though the evidence used at court was not able to prove the 5 accused of murder, in civil law it would have. So if they sued the newspaper it would go to court and all the newspaper would have to prove is they are murderers on “the balance of probability”.

However there is such a thing as DOUBLE JEOPARDY. This is when someone cannot be trialled for the same crime twice. However Jack Straw abolished part of this in certain cases because since DOUBLE JEOPARDY was firs brought into law things like the advancement of DNA can help cold cases from 20 years ago.

Also police can also help journalist to help them when they cannot prosecute criminals. As i have said criminal cases have to be proved “beyond reasonable doubt”. An example is a police officer cannot prosecute a bugler because lack of evidence to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” So he could call a journalist – they can do an investigative piece of the string of burglaries and if the person wants to sue the paper they can. But then it becomes a civil matter and the parameters for prosecuting in criminal cases are on the “balance of probability”. So if the newspaper went to court because the accused sued, the newspaper could use the same evidence the police officer did and prove the accused is guilty of what they said they would.

8 Nov 2009

Confidentiality, Privacy Secrets and Secrecy – lecture notes

Breach of confidence and secrecy

• State secrets – affects investigative journalism and reports from armed forces communities = Official Secrets Act

• Commercial secrets – affects health stories, B2B and investigative journalism = Common Law Confidentiality

• Privacy – affects tabloid news and celebrities lives = Privacy Law article 8 of Human Rights Act “family life”


Official Secrets Act

There is public information in society that cannot be published because of the “official secrets act” including information of military or intelligence operations in the Armed Forces. The Official Secrets Act 1911 can lead to a criminal prosecution if broken. The OSA can be broken by accident for example taking wallpaper shots of military bases etc which have been covered by the OSA – there will usually be a notice posted up stating that the area is that in military power (it is like a defamatory statement because of the danger of someone dangerous finding out).

Another accidental breaking of the OSA is if radio or television stations broadcasted that wives and families were happy that their loves ones were returning home today. It could be a breach of the OSA because it could give away the position of a large number of soldiers at any one time. This could be dangerous for those who want to hurt military personnel. – If you want to publish something like this check with the press office of the MOD to be 100% sure.


If you want to learn more on the official secrets act you can go to the website below

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1989/Ukpga_19890006_en_1.htm


Common Law secrets / Confidentiality


Everyone in society has the right to keep secrets told by another person, so long as it is not against the interest of the public. They also have the right to tell others hoping they will not pass them on to other people. Sometimes this does not happen and secrets from one individual are passed on to another person by a person who was told by the original secret holder. There are some people in society that CANNOT pass on our secrets including doctors, lawyers, employee or a very close family member – if they do then they are “breaching our confidentiality”. This can result in a civil action for compensation.

Journalists want these secret – they are interesting, gobsmacking and strikingly great to read. Journalist can be involved in the crime of THIRD PARTY breach of confidence if we get someone to tell us secrets of someone else. If a person can persuade a judge a 3rd party breach of confidence is taking place then this can “gag” the press and stop the article being publish/broadcasted.

Breach of Confidence Defined

• Confidentiality = depends on the type of information on offer and the expectation of the person who is giving the secrets out to someone else.

You are in breach if:

a) If the information “has the necessary quality of confidence” (is important and not already known) & is not “tittle-tattle” (e.g. date of birth or place of birth)

b) Provided in “circumstance imposing an obligation” (when it is said with a professional such as a doctor or a talk with a boss as the other person thinks it is reasonable to keep the secret)

c) There is “no permission” to give

d) “Detriment” is likely to be caused to the person giving the information (this is when the person don’t have to prove they are being defamed they ONLY HAVE TO SHOW how they will be hurt e.g. losing their job).


IF ANY OF THE ABOVE IS MISSING, THEN THE INFORMATION IS NOT CONFIDENITAL – IT CAN BE REVEALED WITHOUT BREACH.

Gagging clauses” in contracts of employment

If you are employed by a company you owe them a common law of “duty of confidence” – even if it is not specified in the contract you signed or agreed too. An employee needs trust in the people they have working for them to keep secrets otherwise doing business would be impossible. If someone has a gagging clause in their contract – they take a huge risk in speaking to journalist and giving out important information. This is why you are nearly always directed to press offices by employees. If people tell you confidential things then you must warn the speaker in the strongest possible way that as a journalist you will try your best to protect them as a source (NUJ code of conduct). But if they are identified there will be nothing a journalist can do.
Anything we tell a doctor is expected to stay a secret unless we say they can tell someone else or it can be used for education or medical research.

This doesn’t have to be in writing it can be made orally in the presence of a witness. Also lawyers are restricted to what they can tell other people while they have clients. If their client tells them they have murdered someone they know the lawyer cannot breach what is said to them – this is also the same as confession in front of a priest at Catholic churches. If someone confesses to a crime to a priest in the confession booth – they CANNOT tell anyone else because a part of their job is not to judge only god can do that and they feel that if justice is done it will be done naturally by god and end up in the courts.


Privacy – article 8 Human Rights Act (family life)

Personal secrets including that of regular people in society, their own privacy and that of celebrities is covered by a new “privacy law” that is being created by the Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – which protects the private and family life of people in society. A picture of someone doing something outrageous would be priceless to anyone in the media world. Article 8 states:
  1. Everyone has the righ to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
  2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society (a) in the interest of national security, public safety pr the economic well-being in the country, (b) for the prevention of disorder or crime, (c) for the prevention of health or morals or (d) for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Development in the Law:

• Until 2nd October 2000 the UK did not have any protection against their privacy – however...

• On this date the Human Rights Act 1998 came in to affect given people in society the right to privacy for themselves and family.

• Journalist suddenly became concerned because they feared the right to privacy would outweigh the right for them to publish article with the defence of public interest – but article 10 of the same act made judges consider the importance of freedom of expression


A photo of Simon Cowell in the nude would be put on the front page of a tabloid paper. Also a photo of a famous person on holiday with their children playing on a beach – would this be right to publish it? Isn’t it something that everyday people do? Is it because you’re a celebrity you give up your right to privacy? No. This is why the human Rights Act is becoming known around the world as the only way to keep your privacy in today’s society. You can publish the pictures if there is consent by that person and if there is public interest otherwise it is a breach of confidence.

Cases on privacy include:

Princess Caroline of Monaco – wanted her privacy kept from everyone in society but a newspaper published photos of her with her family on holidays and shopping.

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglass – had an injunction put on Hello! magazine to stop them printing photos of their wedding after they sold the exclusive rights to OK! magazine.

Naomi Campbell – sued The Daily Mail because they published pictures of her at a drug rehab centre after they previously broke the story that she was addicted to Cocaine. She won her case because she said the pictures infringed on her privacy as she had the right to seek treatment in privacy for her addiction.

The Max Mosley case is VERY significant – he was caught acting out sadistic sexual fantasies with prostitutes. He didn’t deny his behaviour and a witness said the scene were that of an explicit reference to Nazi concentration. HOWEVER he said it was his own private affair and reporting them was a breach of his rights to privacy and normal family life.

Should celebrities have the right to privacy when they throw their lives in to the lime light? Take Katie Price and her family ... she has a show which follows her children around with her but what if she says that the media is denying her privacy for her private and family life? Should this be granted even if she has allowed a show to follow her and her family about most of their lives? ... You decide, i already know my answer to that question.

6 Nov 2009

Lecture on Qualified Privilege

Qualified Privilege

I was absent from the lecture but i have read the lecture notes from the website and done some further reading of my own and this is my take about QP.
All journalists have QP when reporting in parliament automatically qualifies for the defence when repeating, publishing or broadcasting defamatory remarks.
However it requires:
• Immediate publication

• No errors

• No malice
It should be fast, accurate and fair – malice is the lack of balance easy ways to cover this is using: “he denies the charges” “the case continues” “they refused to comment”.

WE NEVER HAVE ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE (AP)

QP is also available not only in parliament but in the following:

• Public events >> local governments meetings, pressure groups, AGMs of companies etc) – be sure to allow the defamed person to DENY the statements – as to make your piece balanced.

Using the 10 points from the Reynolds defence – PLUS the public interest defence then you MAY have QP in making a defamatory statement which isn’t quoting someone with Absolute privilege.

Qualified Privilege in Common Law

It rests on the idea of “the common convenience and welfare of society or in layman’s terms the public interest.

An example of QP in common law is if a lecturer was asked to write a statement about a student, if he wrote something bad or defamatory then if it was wrote without malice he would be covered by QP

Albert Reynolds vs The Sunday Times – the birth of the Reynolds defence
The case in as basic as possible is that The Sunday Times said that the Irish PM lied to the parliament so he could cover up the child abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church. The paper believed the rumours to be true, but they could never prove the allegations. But they published anyway. The case went to the High Court and it found in FAVOUR of the Sunday Times because they believe it had a “duty” to publish the story because it was in the interest of the public to know. From this the Reynolds defence was born in which it set out 10 points in which a journalist should follow – if they do then they can try and be protected under this defence. AS LONG AS THE REPORTER IS WORKING WITH NO MALICE.

1. The seriousness of the allegation –
The more serious the allegation the more protection given - no private or small allegations i.e. about celebrities will be protected

2. The nature of the information -
The extent the allegation is of public interest.

3. The source of the information -
The more authoritative the source is the more you are entitled to report the allegations – even if they can’t be proved. The test ... Would they have reason to lie to me???

Sources “on the record” are more protected then those anonymous sources.

4. The steps taken to verify the information -
There must be attempts made to verify information – try and put them to the accused to give them the time to respond – if they say no then you reply no comment as long as you have proof to show that you have taken steps to try and get an answer e.g. emails

5. The status of the information -
Need to make sure this is not an old allegation if it has already been dismissed it won’t have protection.
6. The urgency of the matter -
If the article is in much need i.e. if it is about corruption in political parties and its published the day before voting commences then other checks in the code may be less of an issue

7. Whether comment was sought from the claimant –
In the article you have to try and get the other side of the story – it can never be one sided or bias.
8. Whether the article contained the gist of what the claimant said as their side of the story –

9. The tone of the article –
The if the tone vicious then you are less likely to be protect – if it is along the lines of allegations of x has raised concerns over ... then it is not a malicious way to write an article.

10. The circumstances of the publication -
Includes the timing of the article. It should be contemporaneous and ASAP. If they are saved for the right time in the eyes of the publication then they could not be protected.

4 Nov 2009

The fight of a lifetime for parents of baby RB

When someone that you love gets seriously ill many of us find it hard to cope with the thought of losing a loved one, having to come to terms with that when the loved one is a child must be unbearable for the parents.

There is a case currently at the High Court where a one-year-old child’s life is hanging in the balance between life and death as his mother and father battle each other because both disagree over turning the life support machine off that is keeping baby RB alive (real name not disclosed for legal reason).

RB has congenital myasthenic syndrome which is a rare neuromuscular condition that severely limits the movement in his limbs and his ability to breathe independently.

The mother agrees with doctors that the ventilator should be switched off because the child has no quality of life. She believe that the “intolerable suffering experience by her son must outweigh her own personal grief should she lose her son”. But the father of RB, who is separated from the mother, opposed the plans. Lawyers for the father have argued that the baby’s condition does not affect the brain and that he can see, hear, feel and recognise his parents.

For any decent human being reading this story is painful enough, but think about what would you do in that situation? Would you consult the most experienced doctors in the world and for them to tell you that your son should be left to die in peace, or would you fight if you believed that him being able to see or hear you was proof enough that his life is worth saving? I found it very difficult too and i have no idea how these parents could even begin to think about a situation like that let alone go through it every day. I’m no expect in the medical field but i have always believe in dignity for those who are going to die, but on the other hand i also believe that if i child can do certain things that disability or no disability they should be able to fight as long as possible.

If the High Court rules in favour of the hospital and baby RB’s mother it would be the first time a British court has ruled against the wishes of a parent whose child is not suffering from brain damage.

This case however could be even more complicated on other levels such as the mothers decision comes before that of the fathers because they are separated. Many of us know that within law cases concerning a child, the mother has more priority – but in this case if the mother wins, could it be seen that the father’s right to save his son has been dismissed because the mother has more power within society’s law? Or on the other hand if the father wins, could it spell out some justice for fathers who do not have as much power in their children’s lives because the laws here in Britain are generally not ‘for’ fathers?

Baby RB’s father will submit footage which shows the child playing with toys, enjoying listening to music and interacting with his parents. The case continues at the High Court.

News stories from The Sun - 4th November


(picture from Daily Mail - baby Daniel and mother Paula)

I read an amazing story in The Sun this morning about pioneering medicine which freezes the umbilical cord and uses it to create replacement body parts if the child falls ill in the future. The unbelievable creation has been used for the first time ever; newborn baby Daniel Aspinall’s mother paid £1,890 to store the cord for 20 years at a private tissue bank in Nottingham.
The benefit of this outstanding treatment paves the way for medicine and science in pro-founding ways. The “bionic” umbilical cord as The Sun newspaper called it can be used to regenerate blood, bone, cartilage, muscle, tendons and immune systems. His mother Paula says the technology will be able to cure him of immobility if he becomes paralysed later in life; it can also be used to beat heart disease because it can regenerate the cells in the child’s heart and brain. The treatment which sounds out of this world could save millions of people around the world of crippling disease from child birth to adulthood. It is also said to be able to treat siblings and maybe parents too.
The umbilical cord is frozen by using liquid Nitrogen within 20 minutes of birth. The question that begins to beg in my mind is these:
• Could this technology be used in Siamese twins who need to be separate but at the cost of part of them losing vital muscles, tissue etc the body needs?

• The medicine which in itself has only just begun, what could it do for those types of families that have one healthy child but one very sick child, could the healthy child’s frozen cord help save the life of his sibling? If so could this be a major step forward in life saving medicine in Britain?

There is more information on the below sites about freezing the umbilical cord of a child after birth:
www.umbilicalcordbanking.org/
http://www.wellsphere.com/wellpage/freezing-umbilical-cord-blood

29 Oct 2009

Ian Anderson - BBC god

Former editor of BBC; Ian Anderson made a visit to Winchester University in order to help guide and give advice to the current year 3 single honour journalism class (me). He was lucky enough to view some of the television news packages produced by the year 3 on stories around the city that they believed were interesting and would grab the readers.


The advice he gave was exceptional and really gave me an insight in to what things regional news packages look for:

* Simplicity

* Good language

* Clear communication in words and style

* Don’t over complicate the piece

One good piece of advice he gave which i found interesting was to use a PTC (Piece to camera) as much as you can, or about 30 - 40 seconds depending on the length of the package. It is the quickest and easiest way of giving those who are watching the correct information whilst propelling the narrative forward, but also it highlights the journalist who is doing the piece to the audience! If you are an up and coming journalist the only way you can get people to see how good you are, is to show them how good you are. PTC's shows exactly how well you make packages in front of the camera and behind the scenes also. "Don’t be scared to be in the PTC", said Ian. "It helps to promote you".

The compliments he gave to our studio, our skills and of course our course was great too. Journalists nowadays, especially when working with smaller companies, have to become Video Journalists or VJ's for short. These are journalists that are multi-skilled across all fields of journalism whether it is in television, radio, newspaper or magazines or even with video a package, editing, sound and lighting. There is some bad news in there too ... If anything goes wrong with the package (bad footage, too long, too short etc) it means they are solely responsible.

Also, don’t be afraid to be in the shot when interviewing someone, it gives the audience the knowledge that you are there doing what you say you are doing.

With my group’s package, he liked the story it was based on, and the editing. He did say that one way it could be improved was to do the piece to the camera where the action was taken place and not another part of the university.

Recap lecture on Defamation & Libel

Article 8 of the Human Rights Act = privacy

Article 10 of the Huam Rights ACt = freedon of speech/expression


LIBEL -->         Defamation
                            Publication
                            Identification


                                                       DEFAMATION

       * Shunned / Avoided
       * Lowers them in opinion of others
       * Hatred. ridicle, contempt
       *  Dispages person in work or business


Juries all have a different opinion - so one jury may find the word "gay" defamatory but another group of jurors may not. It depends on several factors: sex, race, location, behaviour, up bringing, social group, and the changing of society as a whole.

23 Oct 2009

BBC Question Time - my opinion of tonight show

I have just finished watching the debate (if you can call it that, it seemed to be more of a 'slagging' match that you would find in the playground of 6 year olds) on BBC's Question Time, which of course has been the most spoke about controversial television programme during the last few weeks. Many people have come out speaking that they believe Nick Griffin who is the leader of the British National Party (BNP) should be allowed on the political programme.
Watching the 'debate' i found myself laughing at most of what was being said. Please before you begin to persecute me for my laughter it was not about the particular issues raised, it was the shambolic behaviour of those in the audience and quite frankly those on the panel too. Many who read this may in fact disagree with me, you may think that shouting and 'slip of the mouth words like "dick ... I’m sorry nick griffin" is adult like behaviour, but as a 21 year old i think that these are very childish acts. A vast majority of people in the UK do not follow or even agree with the policies of the BNP and therefore wish to; on a public front; so their disgust and anger at a man that has very much become public enemy number 1 in the UK.
Although two particular things rose during the show i think should be looked upon again.

1) At the end of the show they spoke about the article printed by the Daily Mail about Stephen Gatley, who sadly passed away recently. All of those at the table agreed that although the article was distasteful and wrong, the journalist and indeed the publication had a right to publish it. They all agreed that the reason for this was because people in this country have the right to FREEDOM OF SPEECH/EXPRESSION as it is written in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. However ... if this is true, then why was there so much uproar from those in power and those around the country about Mr Griffin being allowed to voice his political party’s agenda on a BBC show?
If people in society want to be protected by freedom of expression and those in power of the country want to have article 10 written in the Law then surely they can’t try and refuse someone (who obviously has his own agenda) who wants to use that right to voice his opinions, however controversial. His party has been elected! Therefore he has a right to be seated on Question Time along with other members of political parties, whether we like it or not. If we don’t like it then we could always throw out the right to express ourselves? But then where would we be? This is why the BBC HAD to allow the BNP a seat on the programme. They were as we say in slang terms "doomed if they do, and doomed if they don’t". It was either upset people who don’t follow the BNP or upset those who do, only difference is if the BNP wasn't allowed on the show then they always had the article 10 of the Human Rights Act to change decision. We as society fight to have better lives, we are given that opportunity by laws such as the Human Rights article 8 (freedom of privacy) and article 10 (freedom of speech). So we can’t protest to allow ourselves to be defended behind that and not someone else.
2) The show found itself answering the question of if they believed the success of the BNP recently was due to the lack of control over immigration. This is where i really began to watch the people speaking on the panel, because unfortunately they all seemed to blame one another for the failings of immigration. But here is a valid point. If these political parties do not want to see the BNP have more control in society then maybe instead of squabbling between themselves they should pull their finger out - work together - and fight the problems the country are having at the moment. Otherwise people will vote for the only other party left in a hope that they will do something worthwhile. Many of the panel gave their opinion on Nick Griffin and the BNP but isn’t it because of their parties that he has become so popular? Maybe the political parties in the country should stop playing playground tactics and start actually do the job they are supposed to, otherwise they will end up seeing someone like Mr Griffin in downing street running the country ... all i will have to say to them at that time is this ... "where were you when something could have been done"?

20 Oct 2009

World’s heaviest man chomps away at taxpayer’s money

Just imagine the scene ... you’re hard at work in the job that pays your wages ... whether it is at the office filing papers, in the school classroom teaching teenagers algebra or doing that horrible night shift at the warehouse ... you all have one thing in common PAYING TAX. Then you look at today's paper and you discover that the world’s heaviest man is here in Britain living in Ipswich; off TAX PAYERS MONEY!


Paul Mason, 48, eats EIGHT TIMES the recommended amount of calories for a male – consuming over 20,000 A DAY! Paul, who weighs 70 STONE scoffed his way through thousands of pounds worth of food and now is going to be treated ON THE NHS!!! His care cost the UK more than £100,000 a year and he has been stuck in bed for more than eight years. The cost continues to mount up at the expense of tax payers as the ‘super-obese’ man needs to get to the specialist hospital more than 152 miles away, where he will undergo stomach surgery to stop him eating food in a fight to keep him alive.

Now i am all for saving people’s lives but when they have disregarded all common sense and have ate their way to death i don’t think they should have the NHS and taxpayers money being spent on them. If this man was in a different country it would be a different story but because he is in Britain he has the NHS to fall back on, so what is that saying for the overweight and obese teenagers or children in the country? That they can eat all they like and at the end when they are yards from death the NHS will save them?

Health chiefs first thought of transporting Mason in a RAF CHINOCK HELICOPTER because of the issues surrounding his weight, but this idea was later ruled out but it just goes points out a question that even though OUR BOYS in Afghanistan need this specialised equipment they come after individuals who consciously CHOOSE to eat themselves to death. Now the NHS is going to take him to Chichester, West Sussex in a reinforced 5-ton ambulance which cost £90,000 and is used for severely obese people. I read this story and my initial reaction was shock, but reading the article published today in The Sun newspaper my emotion turned from shock to disgust at the fact the government, NHS, and local councils would spend thousands of pounds on someone who chooses this life style when that money could be spent on doing so much more in the country.

The money could be spent on making hospitals around the country benefit from better cleaning and sanctuary conditions to help fight diseases in our wards, or on equipping our military with the right weapons and armour whilst they are giving up their lives in a foreign country or even spending it to fix the diabolical and shameful military homes that families of service personal are forced to live in. Yet it doesn’t happen. That much needed money is thrown at someone who could have stopped his eating habits more than 8 years ago but did nothing and now his life is in the hands of us... the tax payers.

A spokesman for Suffolk NHS said: “the nature of his illness is psychological and the NHS has a duty to help him”. But what about everyone else they have a duty to help? The Hippocratic Oath is there to save lives yet they have the nature to decide who to help?? In 2002 he was 56 stone and then he lost 20 stone in 2006 – that would have made him 36 stone, yet he piled on a record breaking 34 stone in just 3 years!!!! How is that psychological? Surely if he could do it once he should be able to do it again?

I for one am disgusted! Some hospitals around the country refuse medical treatment to patients in need of life saving surgeries. Gary Reinbach, 22, from Dagenham was refused a liver transplant after he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He started binge drinking at 13 years old. Even though he was only given just a FEW weeks to live, Health Chiefs rules that he should NOT be exempt from the organ donation criteria, which says that patients should be alcohol free for 6 months. They knew he was too ill to be alive that long to even try, yet they still refused him LIFE SAVING treatment. But a man who has ATE HIMSELF to near death is saved by Health chiefs? How is that fair? Or more to the point ethically right!


19 Oct 2009

HOW TO USE FINAL CUT PRO - basics

Final Cut Pro is the editing system used by journalists in the industry to produce high quality and professional looking work. At Winchester University we have been taught how to create television packages and other video work using Adobe Premiere Pro; Final Cut Pro is of a similar quality however it has its extra facilities to increase the professional quality of any work.
Below is a mini guide to show those who need it how to use Final Cut Pro and the particular facilities it has and what are the most important things to use
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2867237905327464722#

This link above shows how to do basic editing in final cut pro - you can follow this with the below guide as you can see the componants on the screen

One of the important things to remember when editing is SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! YOUR WORK!!! If you don’t you have a high chance of losing all your precious work – so don’t take the risk!

STARTING FINAL CUT PRO

1) Open Final Cut Pro

2) At the top click FILE > AUDIO/VIDEO SETTINGS ** Make sure all the boxes are marked with DV Pal 48 kHz

3) FILE > New project

4) FILE > SAVE ** save the project in a place you will always remember. It is good that if using a computer or laptop with not much memory or a public computer you should save on to a HARDRIVE.

5) In the same place as number 4 also make sure that the AV devices tab is set to default.

6) Creating a scratch disk ** Go to FINAL CUT PRO (top left hand corner) click it and then click SYSTEM SETTINGS > make sure it is all saved in the same place you saved number 4 to (otherwise it may save half your work in other areas on the computer)


BEGINNING TO EDIT


1) Click FILE > LOG CAPTURE ** A tab will appear so you can begin capturing all the clips you wish to from the tape you have. There are 3 ways to do this:

Capture Now ** Name the clip FIRST!!! Then click “NOW” in the bottom right hand corner of the tab that appears. This will make another tab appear – to stop the clip capturing press ESC – the logged clip will appear on the top right of the Final Cut Pro screen.

Capture Clip ** On the tab that appears you will see the play, stop, rewind etc in the middle of the tab – on the left there will be what looks like a arrow pointing down towards the bottom right which is inside a circle – a black rectangle box – then a circle with what looks like a triangle pointing towards the right with a line going down from top to bottom. THIS IS THE BUTTON YOU WILL NEED TO START CAPTURING. On the opposite side there will be the exact same thing as above but a mirror image of it (i.e. the triangle pointing left and the arrow pointing down to the left)

** The “triangle buttons” are the ones which you press to either log in the capturing or log out them capturing. The one on the left is to set the capture – the one on the right is to stop the capture. You then name the clip and it appears on the final cut pro screen. (Might be long winded but when you see the screen it will look VERY simple)


Batch Capture ** You can set many in and out times and it will capture each as a separate film and it will make a list of these. Advice is not to use batch capture if you are a beginner. It is very useful and will speed you up when you are confident.


2) Once you have all the clips you want captured you click and drag in down on to the sequence bar to begin editing.


3) Use the IN and OUT points to trim the clips to how you want them ** if you double click the video or audio on the sequence bar it will appear in the box above it to trim etc

Above is a still shot of what the final cut pro looks like
* under the picture of the biker you will find the arrows i was telling you about, to which you use to capture.
(larger version visit: http://www.geniusdv.com/final_cut_pro_training/2007/05/24/final_cut_pro_editing.gif)


EDITING THE CLIPS
1) LINK/DE-LINKIN CLIPS > the button for this is on the far right above the sequence bar > it looks like a dashed lined box with a pair of glasses inside ** it allows you to link or de-link video and sound clips so you can move things around

• This is what you should use when you wish to put a still image or a video clip on top of a different audio clip so you can have audio on top of different video or vice versa. ** You can also turn off the audio or increase/decrease the sound. ** REMEMBER to highlight particular clips or it will do this to all of them!!

http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/finalcutpro/editing-tools.html
This link will take you to the Apple website and it will show you videos to help show you editing.
2) THE RAZOR TOOL > is one of the buttons on the right hand side of the sequence bar or you can press ‘B’ ** this adds transitions effects between clips REMEMBER ... you have to separate the clips to give the transitions time to work


3) TRANSITIONS > in effects tab ** find this at the top there is a tab finding under the tab which has the clips logged in it

NB. You can only put transitions on to clips that are on the same sequence line, if they are not use the link/de-link took to do this.

This link will take you to the page which will help you with effects and transitions
http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/finalcutpro/effects-transitions.html

4) EFFECTS ON CLIPS > double click to put it in to the viewer ** in the motion tab you can control the size or the shape of the frame – it can be fastened or put in slow mo) be careful about the audio though in slow mo) – There are other effects also in this tab but these two are useful.

NB. After doing these effects you can’t change – so if you mess up you will have to drag the original clip back on to the sequence

5) -2 or +5 next to each clip on the sequence line??? ** This is showing you that the clips are out of sync ... to set it right you will need to pull them back or apart till there is no number showing.

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS!!


ALWAYS render you work ... it saves time and energy when it comes to doing it later ** it is found in the tool bar