Lefty logic

Dear BBC Management,
I was disturbed to read in yesterday’s Guardian that the Metropolitan police have made contact with BBC journalists to request unbroadcast footage of the protests in central London on March 26th.

Mm, hmmm.

It took a full week following the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests, for example, for the true story of police brutality to emerge after footage released by a passer-by reversed the police’s false and self-serving account which had been parroted by an obliging media.


In response to the Met’s request, BBC Management should now issue a public statement mounting a strong defence of the confidentiality of its journalists’ material and sources.


The argument is that because previously unseen footage was of use in solving the Tomlinson thing then no one should release unseen footage?


10 thoughts on “Lefty logic”

  1. Well, 1. There’s a difference between private footage being released after independent judgement and professionally filmed footage acquired by a media agency which is released after police pressure and 2. given the previous, there are legitimate concerns about the growth of a surveilance state that co-opts the media into its apparatus.

    It’s really not that complex, this lefty logic. Indeed, rather than pointing out somebody else’s stupidity you seem rather to have advertised your own.

    And another thing: as a “classical liberal” aren’t you meant to be suspicous of the over-bearing and prying state? Or does that go out of the window when it’s the other side being effected? Or when a cheap post is needed to keep things ticking over?

  2. Paul:
    The footage was filmed in a public place, so no issue there, right?
    The footage is in the possession of a company.
    The company has been asked to provide this legally obtained footage of an event that took place in public to the police. It is potentially evidence in criminal proceedings. Is there some mysterious problem here that I am missing?

    “the over-bearing and prying state? ”

    What are you talking about? Police conducting a criminal investigation are indeed in the habit of seeking evidence, whether that be fingerprints on a window, criminal tools of trade left on someone’s property, or whatever else.

    I think you might need to research the idea of classical liberalism a bit harder if you think it involves police being physically assaulted or trespass and property damage occuring at the expense of private businesses.

  3. And by the way, your distinction between “privately filmed” footage and “professionally” filmed footage is morally meaningless.

  4. surely the BBC will require a warrant or something from a judge before giving up the footage? Not sure about lefty logic but Paul Sagar’s reaction is a bit of a knee-jerk.

  5. Why should the BBC require a warrant? It’s not as if they are under investigation nor should they have a moral or ethical reason for giving up photage. I mean it doesn’t seem as if they were collaborating with these people.

  6. diogenes: I have witnessed crimes once or twice over the years and I certainly didn’t feel obliged to wait for a subpoena before going to the authorities.

    Just the other day I saw an aircraft flying in a dangerous manner, possibly in distress, so I called the relevant people. If I had managed to get a photo of the people flying well below the legal ceiling, almost touching buildings, would it make sense to wait for a warrant before handing the photo to the police and/or aviation authorities? Doesn’t seem logical to me.

    On the very same day actually, in a nearby town, several people watched a young child walking in a nappy across a busy freeway, but didn’t call the police. He was hit and killed by a train shortly afterwards.

    We all have concerns about police powers but the debate seems to have made an assumption that they are necessarily the enemy, and I don’t think that’s helpful.

  7. look at is journalist “ethics” – if your editor found you had a news-worthy story but gave it to the police first, then you would be out of a job, sharpish

  8. Surreptitious Evil

    I can understand the BBC’s reaction if this was a “confidential source” – it isn’t. Filmed, as said before, in a public place. I can understand the “news before stazi” point too, if this wasn’t olds. It’s just the cuttings from the news-room floor that they are after, rather than just the stuff deemed both suitably action-orientated and fits-the-Beeb’s-cultural-imperatives to actually be broadcast.

    The “over-bearing state” stuff is also nonsense – I’d rather have the police request or get a warrant for footage after an alleged crime than have CCTV everywhere “just on sus”. I’d bet the idiots wouldn’t be complaining if the BBC footage was of an EDL rampage (unless it was the UAF who kicked off!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *