As if to underscore the point made in my last post–that it was disingenuous of Jamaican media to make excuses for their refusal to identify the names of prime suspects by blaming the police for not releasing their names (as if the police are the only means to get access to information about them!) –a classic example of what I mean has just unfurled in Britain with the arrest of former Murdoch media head Rebekah Brooks. The British police didn’t identify her either–but this hasn’t kept the media there from verifying and announcing the arrest (see story below).
What then keeps Jamaican media from doing the same? Why does the public here put up with this nonsense?
Incidentally @ravisomaiya, one of the authors of the NYT article below tweeted the following this morning:
Everyone I’ve spoken to since the news broke suggests #Brooks will use the arrest to avoid questions in Parliament. #NotW
British Police Arrest Rebekah Brooks in Phone Hacking
By ALAN COWELL and RAVI SOMAIYA
Published: July 17, 2011
LONDON — The British police on Sunday arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch’s media operations in Britain, according to a former associate at News International, the newspaper group at the heart of a phone-hacking scandal convulsing the Murdoch empire, the British political elite and the police.
A police statement did not identify her by name but said a 43-year-old woman had been detained for questioning by officers investigating both the phone-hacking scandal and payments made to corrupt police officers. A News International official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ms. Brooks had been arrested.
Britain’s Press Association news agency said she was arrested by appointment at a London police station at approximately midday and remains in custody.
The terse Metropolitan Police statement went thus:
“The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.
“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.
“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.
“Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.”
Jamaican police statements no doubt end with a similar caution. The problem is our media treats this as some kind of divine order rather than a suggestion. Nary another word issues from them on the matter. Some people think this may be because of our libel laws, slavishly copied (like the buggery law) from British libel law. But if the British media doesn’t find their libel law a shackle on their ability to publish information of public interest why does it have this gagging effect on media here? Have their laws been modified? If so can we modify ours to match posthaste? Mimicry has never been a problem before…
Seet deh? I rest my case. can we now agree that Jamaican media has been wantonly derelict in its duty to inform the public?