Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bad news watch

Two items of the media pushing a reactionary agenda at the expense of the facts have caught my eye this week...

"Murder suspect may have fled in pantomime horse outfit"

Whilst much of the press is in rapturous horror about reports that a suspect in the case of a murdered policewoman fled the country in full Niqab under his sister's passport the police seem a little bemused by it all. Islamophobia Watch reports "a spokesman for West Yorkshire police said: "It's a possibility. He could have been wearing a pantomime horse outfit as well. But until we get him, we won't know for sure.""

It's true what they say, the press never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Second, we have the case of the terrible Ipswich murders and the gleefully sensationalised tripe that passes for reporting on this tragic subject.

Harmless fun?This includes parts of the press reporting the killer as the "Ipswich Ripper" despite the fact that no ripping has been involved. Others are dubbing the killer the "Suffolk Strangler" which is technically more accurate but just as geared towards grisly paper selling headlines.

I note that the guy they initially arrested for the murders has had his name, address and photo plastered all over every paper in the land plus interviews with former friends, neighbours et al and other attendant pieces meant to be read with one hand (the other possibly placed in front of your gaping mouth)... but it looks like he may well not have done it at all and has been arrested because he knew the five victims - obviously if you know prostitutes you're clearly a wrong-un.

Ipswich is a small space and the "community" of street sex workers numbers around forty, so anyone who has regular contact with this community could very reasonably have known all the victims and other Ipswich prostitutes have come forward in his defence.

The local police have arrested a second man (pictured "strangling" his wife) who they say they are more hopeful about... let's hope he's the right guy. There has been a number of high profile cases in this country where the police, under extreme pressure to catch someone end up catching and convicting anyone. Political and media pressure has, in the past, led to the conviction of the Bridgewater Four and the Birmingham Six for crimes they did not commit. I'd like to think we could avoid stitching someone up over this case.

I'm not opposed to the police arresting people who turn out to be innocent (if he does), although I'd like that to be avoided where possible obviously, but I am opposed to someone's life being destroyed by masturbatory headlines to fill the coffers of bloated media plutocrats. Martin Bell also has an interesting piece on the level of coverage of the murders, which I'm highlighting for interest, although I don't necessarily agree with everything he is saying.

Oh, and this is the last call for Carnival of Socialism #11 on Sex and Gender email me today with contributions on the theme you've either written or spotted, and I'll be posting the Carnival tomorrow morning (before I go to Essex for the Crimbo period)

1 comment:

The Sentinel said...

I agree with you, its an absolute disgrace to publish someone's photo, name and enough details to identify their address merely because they have been arrested for something.

Very often suspects are released the next day with no charge.

I heard one radio news report giving out his mothers details as well.

I think that identities should remain anonymous until such a time that people are convicted for an offence.