Chief Constable on NI Media: “they are part of the confidence-building…”

The PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has been speaking to the Leveson Inquiry about the Northern Ireland media.  From the BBC report

Mr Baggott said: “The local media in Northern Ireland have an absolute commitment to the future of the province.

“They have a stake in it. And they are part of the confidence-building and they have an ownership of the issues.”

Mr Baggott said the local media also understood the consequences of the way something was reported, and the consequences of creating a sound-bite without developing the context.

“I think that’s the difference,” he said.

“The national media will come in and will report on the story for one day…sometimes for the headline, sometimes because it is a matter of national interest but go away.

“The local media in Northern Ireland have to live with the consequences of their reporting and they are very much bought into the future of peace-building.”

And part of that “confidence building” may include instances when, as I’ve noted previously, “journalists were sometimes told to hold back on a story in case they might do damage to the delicate administration…”

As I’ve said before

I’ve no doubt of the contribution, but the “well-behaved witness” now needs to start asking “stupid” questions. Otherwise false, or partial, narratives will go unchallenged as those witnesses continue to ignore “the bits that do not suit particular prejudices”.  And when “agreed truth becomes accepted, the real truth becomes a lie”.

After all, it’s not as if the NI administration needs more press officers…

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  • PaulT

    “The local media in Northern Ireland have an absolute commitment to the future of the province.”

    Province? is it me or is the term Northern Ireland fading away, and does ‘Province’ actually mean what it use to, cos if it does thats poor from the CC, but somehow I don’t think it does. Has province become interchangeable with the ‘6 counties’ and ‘the North’.

  • lamhdearg2

    “And part of that “confidence building” may include instances when, as I’ve noted previously, ”journalists were sometimes told to hold back on a story in case they might do damage to the delicate administration…””
    TOLD to hold back, hmm, not sure i like the sound of that,

  • Baggott @ Leveson Inquiry – transcripts and witness statement.

  • Coll Ciotach

    We want more feel good stories please

  • “it’s not as if the NI administration needs more press officers…”

    We can all sleep more soundly knowing that the PSNI (probably) has no press officers ‘dedicated’ [pdf file] to monitoring Slugger O’Toole.

  • Pete Baker

    According to the BBC headline, being told that they’re good watchdogs lapdogs is ‘praise’ for the NI media…

  • From the same BBC link, more praise from Sir Hugh Orde:

    Referring to his time in Northern Ireland, Sir Hugh praised Northern Ireland-based reporters for providing him with a wealth of knowledge.

    He described the relationship as “parasitic”, saying he benefited “far more from their information than anything I had to say to them.”

  • sdelaneys

    PaulT “Province? is it me or is the term Northern Ireland fading away, and does ‘Province’ actually mean what it use to, cos if it does thats poor from the CC, but somehow I don’t think it does. Has province become interchangeable with the ’6 counties’ and ‘the North’.” ‘Province’ or ‘Pravince’ was very common for many years and the CC’s use of it is interesting as it shows an old style Unionist mindset or. The docile local media is no surprise but is shameful.

  • Pete Baker

    Nevin

    If you have something to say about, or add to, the actual topic then do so.

    But stop pointing at trees.

    sdelaneys

    PaulT failed to read beyond the opening lines of the post visible on the frontpage. Please don’t encourage him.

  • “If you have something to say about, or add to, the actual topic then do so.”

    I did. I added the link to Baggott’s contribution to the Leveson inquiry as well as some remarks by the former Chief Constable on the same theme. It’s all part of the same story.

  • Pete Baker

    “I did. I added the link to Baggott’s contribution to the Leveson inquiry as well as some remarks by the former Chief Constable on the same theme.”

    And is there anything additional there that is actually relevant to the original topic?

    No. But you never actually read the transcripts. Nor did you assess the reported comments by Hugh Orde – which are included in the originally linked BBC report.

    “It’s all part of the same story.”

    No, it’s not.

  • Drumlins Rock

    So have it been confirmed by the CC that the NI media follow a political agenda of protecting the current administration of SF/DUP ?

  • Pete Baker

    DR

    Well, he doesn’t quite go that far…

  • “But you never actually read the transcripts. Nor did you assess the reported comments by Hugh Orde”

    The first is untrue and I referenced Hugh’s comments to the BBC link.

  • Pete Baker

    “And is there anything additional there that is actually relevant to the original topic?”

  • latcheeco

    Shocking new report reveals that Squealer had the sheep trained to repeat: “Four legs good, Two legs baaad”

  • Reader

    sdelaneys: “Province? is it me or is the term Northern Ireland fading away, and does ‘Province’ actually mean what it use to, cos if it does thats poor from the CC, but somehow I don’t think it does.
    From http://www.dictionary.com
    Province: noun
    1. an administrative division or unit of a country.
    But what did it use to mean, then?

  • “And they are part of the confidence-building and they have an ownership of the issues .. it’s not as if the NI administration needs more press officers…”

    For me, this is a bit of a curate’s egg. On the one hand Baggott and Young (PSNI Head of Corporate Communications) in their contribution to Leveson are stressing the importance of confidence building between the police and the community whereas the reference to the NI administration is the need to instil confidence in the new political institutions.

    your personal contacts with the media > [Baggott] To increase community confidence in the PSNI response to critical incidents .. any leak to the media (deliberate or otherwise) can damage public confidence in the PSNI .. negative impact on reputation of the organisation and community confidence if inappropriate acceptance of gifts, gratuities or hospitality .. Croke Park, a Gaelic Athletic Association Game, which is seen very much as part of the future in Northern Ireland, the confidence building.

    The confidence building measures have been aimed mainly at the Nationalist and Republican communities though there is parity of ‘esteem’ when it comes to the joint development of community programmes with prominent loyalist and republican paramilitaries.

    The press officers are on the lower rung of the Department of Media and Public Relations (headed by Young). The press officers supply the information to the media; CCD’s role is to ‘manage perceptions and influence the public experience of the PSNI’ :

    The Press Office sits within the PSNI Corporate Communications Department, which has a responsibility for dealing with press queries and for the management and delivery of broader corporate communication

    Readers of NALIL blog will know that Baggott doesn’t take too kindly to PSNI manpower statistics being challenged! Now why doesn’t the MSM do a little bit of challenging of said statistics?

  • Pete Baker

    “For me, this is a bit of a curate’s egg.”

    That would be because you have conflated quotes from two different sources.

    The first part is from Matt Baggott.

    The second is my, later, comment on the wider situation.

  • Pete Baker

    But don’t let that stop you from trying to derail the conversation. Again.

  • “The local media in Northern Ireland have to live with the consequences of their reporting” .. Baggott

    Not just the local media but villains as well as victims who might attract the attentions of the paramilitary godfathers and their brand of justice.

    MS YOUNG: No, I would say again with the local daily media and the broadcast — the daily print and the broadcast, they will comply with what we’ve asked them, because we do explain the reasons. And they do know that if we’ve asked them, it is for justifiable reasons. We have more difficulties with the Sunday papers, who sometimes don’t even give us the opportunity to ask them to hold back, and they will run on rumour at times, which causes difficulties for us.

    Q. So they will publish the article and then you have to contact them and try to undo the damage if you can?

    MS YOUNG: That’s right.

    Q. I won’t ask you to elaborate on this, but you do make the point that there have been occasions where the media have recognised that there’s a risk in publishing some information and have voluntarily not published that information?

    MS YOUNG: That’s correct.

    Q. And you say that they’ve done that in the interests of justice. Is that to prevent prejudice to a criminal trial, that sort of thing?

    MS YOUNG: Absolutely, or there’s a number of reasons why they will know the sensitivities around a particular case or individual or circumstances, and that it’s dangerous to report on it at that particular time.

  • Pete, I’ve posted the two quotes and then demonstrated the disconnection between what Baggott was talking about and what you were talking about. I hope that clarifies the matter. It should be self-evidently not conflation.

  • Pete Baker

    You’ve done nothing of the sort, Nevin.

    But at least you’re now reading the transcript…

  • But I already had scanned the transcript plus some FoI material as I felt you’d probably got the wrong end of the stick. What happened to the guard-dogs and lap-dogs?

    Nite.

  • My apologies; the dogs were further down 🙂

  • This feels like a bad moment in the conversation to reassure Nevin that while …

    We can all sleep more soundly knowing that the PSNI (probably) has no press officers ‘dedicated’ [pdf file] to monitoring Slugger O’Toole.

    … we can sleep easy that at times the Chief Constable himself reads Slugger and is intrigued by some of the posters!

  • Alan, we must have a pretty tame media here; the ‘propaganda’ department only has two media monitors. That would be one to watch NALIL blog and one to watch the rest 🙂

    When I say ‘propaganda’ department I am, of course, referring to the Department of Media and Public Relations known also AFAIK as the Corporate Communications Department. This makes in sound more like a business than a public service – and up in H Division ‘corporacy’ is important and the publication of ‘uncomfortable’ facts is frowned upon:

    Mr McAuley’s actions are more likely to foster a mistrust of Police rather than to encourage engagement.

    I’d suggest that joint projects involving the police and paramilitary ‘community representatives’ are more damaging than the actions of Kevin McAuley – but this is in a different realm, the relationship between the police and the three Governments.

  • “the “well-behaved witness” now needs to start asking “stupid” questions.”

    Well, I’m reasonably well-behaved; I’m a witness who is a critical friend; and I’ve been asking ‘awkward’ questions on policing for many years.

    Why is expenditure on CCD [pdf file] continuing to grow during an age of austerity and cutbacks in other policing resources?

    08/09 – £429,055; 09/10 – £396,352; 10/11 – £484,135; 11/12 – £524,080

    This represents a budget growth of 22% from 2008 to 2012.

    The growing figure associated with ‘reassurance’ would perhaps indicate that the ‘confidence-building’ measures are not having the desired impact.

  • cynic2

    PSNI needs 27 staff to watch the local media. Scary