Saturday 17 October 2009

Pandering To The Reality TV Generation…

Joan Smith in ‘The Independent’ takes issue with the BBC’s showing of the interview with Vanessa George:
. If the general public has belatedly realised that some women abuse children – a fact I have never doubted – then it's possible that future perpetrators will be apprehended at an earlier stage. But the BBC's decision to broadcast sections of the George interviews contributes nothing to that process, and risks stirring up violent emotions in a case which has already produced extreme reactions.
Is that so surprising, Joan? It’s an utterly appalling case, and if any case deserved ‘extreme reaction’, it should be this one.
After her conviction, I heard calls for her to be skinned and rolled in salt, which is just the kind of savagery the criminal justice system is designed to avoid.
Indeed it was.

But some of the problem is that people feel that the justice system no longer works for them, is no longer capable of working for them, in fact. That it works for (firstly) itself, and then for its ‘clients’, the offenders themselves.
There have been cases where paedophiles have been released from prison, identified and murdered, and that is something civilised societies should do their best to prevent.
Civilised societies should do their best to prevent murder, Joan? Or the release of paedophiles from prison?

I don’t think you phrased that well, do you?

However, she’s bang on the money about this:
Sensitivity is what this subject needs most of all, and that is what was totally lacking when the BBC decided to broadcast parts of the police interrogation of Vanessa George. The interviews were carried out not to stimulate hatred and loathing of George and other female paedophiles, which is the most likely result of the broadcast, but to establish precisely what she had done and extract information that might help her victims.
Leaving aside her distaste that the likely result of the interview is to ‘inflame the ignorant masses’ (because hatred and loathing is a natural response to George’s crimes, and a perfectly valid one), I too share her disquiet at the release of this material.

And the dangers of this approach are clear:
One perverse effect might be to make future offenders wary of co-operating with detectives in case the tapes are released and inspire revenge attacks; now that a police force has provided this material to journalists, perhaps interviewees will in future have to be warned that anything they say may be used in evidence, broadcast on television or even published in a celebrity magazine.

What was the BBC thinking? And what were the police thinking?


Anonymous said...

What the BBC was thinking was probably 'What a scoop' and fair enough I suppose. What the police were thinking - well who knows half the time these days. What is clear is that both organisations no longer have sufficiently experienced older staff who haven't stepped on the bleached skulls of others before them on their route to the top. All about process these days - not the content. two great organisations, nay INSTITUTIONS, brought ot heir knees by the modern political classes.

JuliaM said...

"What the BBC was thinking was probably 'What a scoop' and fair enough I suppose. What the police were thinking - well who knows half the time these days."

indeed. This could be so counter-productive in the future, and fo what? Ratings?