Dear Mr Laverty
RE: Channel 4 News, 6 November 2012
I write with reference to your emails concerning your complaint about the above programme. You appear to have contacted us a number of times to chase a reply concerning this complaint. However, other than your most recent email of 12 November, neither myself nor my colleagues have any recollection of receiving these. I would be grateful if you could confirm which email address you sent this correspondence to.
When you submitted your complaint via our web form on 18 December 2013, you received the following response via email:
“Thank you for contacting Ofcom. Your views are important to us as they help to ensure broadcasters follow the rules set out in our codes. These codes set standards for all programmes on TV and radio.
Ofcom assesses each complaint it receives to decide whether it raises a potential issue under its codes.Ofcom will not normally write back to you with the outcome of its considerations.
However, please be assured that if your complaint does raise a potential issue, we will start an investigation. And, whether or not we believe an investigation is required, your comments and feedback are always considered, and all our decisions are published in the Broadcast Bulletin.
Ofcom publishes its Broadcast Bulletin, every fortnight, on our website. This includes the latest decisions about the complaints we’ve received.
If you would like to find out more, you can read:
• issues of the Broadcast Bulletin at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins
• our Consumer Guide at: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2009/12/tvcomplaints.pdf
• our procedures for investigating standards cases http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/standards
• our procedures for investigating fairness and privacy cases http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/fairness”
As noted above, Ofcom does not normally write back to individuals with the outcome of its considerations but all decisions are published in our fortnightly Broadcast Bulletin.
I can confirm that after careful consideration, we decided that it would not be appropriate to investigate the programme. In accordance with our procedures, this decision was published in Broadcast Bulletin 246 on 20 January 2014 (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/246/obb246.pdf).
Paragraph 1.23 of our procedures for investigating standards cases (see link above) states that complaints should be submitted within 20 working days of broadcast. Additionally, as a terrestrial broadcaster, Channel 4 is required to retain recordings of its output for a period of 90 days following transmission and provide such recordings, upon request, to Ofcom. We are mindful that you submitted your complaint over a year after the programme was broadcast, signficantly exceeding both the timeframe for Ofcom to accept complaints and for Channel 4 to retain and provide Ofcom with a recording for assessment.
Given the above factors, we did not it consider it appropriate to pursue your complaint.
I hope this information is helpful.
:: Steve Turner
Dear Mr Turner
To say I’m shocked would be an understatement. You ignore my complaints for months, you ignore my reminders and then inform me that you’re not looking into the matter because of time limitations. I wasn’t seeking to overrule any legislation. As soon as I became aware of the facts I contacted you. Time scales are irrelevant anyway as the footage is readily available online. The individual who claims to have witnessed an MP picking up boys from a care home has contradicted his fabrications and Channel 4 are not held responsible for knowingly airing of these falsehoods without the slightest of substantiations. Indeed, they’ve risked much by claiming they “had confirmation” of the interviewees stay at the home, Bryn Estyn. I challenged them to evidence such, as I know only too well the difficulties of obtaining such records.Channel 4 claimed the had such in approximately 2 days. I have the e-mail.
I’m unsure whether your office is completely aware of the seriousness of this item, its complications and after effects. I’ll ask you to consider the position further and bare in mind the environment in which we are experiencing regards this subject.
I look forward to your reply
Dear Mr Laverty
Thank you for your prompt response.
To clarify, the decision not to pursue your complaint owing to timescales was made before the publication of Broadcast Bulletin 246 on 20 January 2014. Your complaint was therefore not ignored, but assessed as per our procedures. I would be grateful if you could supply the email address that you sent your subsequent emails to so that we can attempt to can locate them.
As I explained in my email earlier today, neither myself nor my colleagues were aware of your subsequent emails. This would explain why you have not received a response until now. I can only reiterate that your complaint was made 13 months after the programme you complained about was broadcast. For the reasons outlined in my previous correspondence, we remain of the view that it would not be appropriate to consider your complaint.
With regard to the footage itself, I must stress that the time and medium of broadcast are relevant factors as this determines which rules apply and indeed, which organisation is responsible for considering the complaint. The content of linear television services (such as BBC1, Channel 4, Sky1, ITV etc) is subject to rules in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and Ofcom is responsible for enforcing these rules. Our co-regulatory partner, the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has regulatory jurisdiction over UK-based ‘television-like’ on-demand services which have been notified to ATVOD. The content of such services are subject to ATVOD’s own rules and ATVOD is responsible for enforcing them.
· the broadcast of Channel 4 News on Channel 4 is subject to the rules in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Complaints about this material are asssessed by Ofcom; and
· videos of Channel 4 News articles accessed on-demand are subject to ATVOD’s rules and assessed by ATVOD (provided that they are broadcast on a notified servcie)
To find out more about ATVOD, the services it regulates and to submit a complaint, please visit www.atvod.co.uk
:: Steve Turner
Channel 4 News have been very quick to reply to my questions. They haven’t answered any but what did you expect? I’ve added the correspondence exchanged thus far. As you can evidence for yourself the obfuscation (avoidance of the issue) has begun. No matter, I’ve plenty of experience with dealing with liars in the MSM.
Dear Mr Laverty,
Thank you for contacting us regarding Ciaran Jenkins report on Bryn Estyn broadcast on 6th November 2012.
This report was partly based on an anonymous interview with a man who we confirmed had been at Bryn Estyn at the time of the alleged incidents. We reported the matter in good faith and consider the reporting met our usual high standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness.
Once again, thank you for contacting as we appreciate all viewer input.
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries
My reply follows below
Thank you for your reply
You state you interviewed ” a man who we confirmed had been at Bryn Estyn at the time of the alleged incidents”. Please specify which incidents you refer to as the man has since publicly stated his time at Bryn Estyn was “uneventful and boring”.
In addition, could you possibly offer the detail’s of the authorities who “confirmed” he was there at any given time as I am certain that information would be considered as confidential and only available upon request from a solicitor or someone with legal authority. As he was from South Wales did you speak to the authorities from there or from the North Wales?
As a bona fide or proven ex-resident of Bryn Estyn myself I find it most concerning that you can “confirm” anyone’s residency at the home without the legal authority to do so. An application for such information would be a lengthy process. One which I have journeyed myself. Considering the trigger for the week long episode was only aired on the 2.11.2012 (News Night-Messham) that means Channel 4 News would have had to applied for the authority many months beforehand. Additionally, the consent of the individual concerned would have had to have been given. Nothing other than the official records could have confirmed anyone’s stay at Bryn Estyn.
Please allow for some doubt from me when you say your report met the “usual high standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness” as other evidence is leading me in a different direction to your reply. And besides you failed to answer many of the questions I initially posed.
Again I decided to assist them with their investigations. It’s nice to be helpful.
Dear Finn Carson
I have traced the statement of the individual interviewed . Given this statement was made only last month I can only conclude that either Channel 4 News is telling untruths or the interviewee is.
“My recollections of the Bryn Estyn Children’s Home were limited to say the least.The short time I spent there were mainly uneventful, tedious to the point of boredom as I recall. Any difficulties I encountered in the care system happened elsewhere, so the lurid tales of VIP Paedophile rings and systematic maltreatment were not in evidence during my brief stay.” (13.11.2013)
The above statement was written last month on his personal blog here> http://outlawjimmy.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/scallywag-revisited/
Below is a verbatim copy of a letter sent to Channel 4. I feel there is a need to question certain individuals who are employed by Channel 4. I’ll keep my readers updated.
To whom it may concern
I’ve watched the News item you aired on the 6th November 2012 http://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-eyewitness-saw-thatcher-aide-take-boys-to-abuse
Since its broadcast I and others have been left with a sense of shock and bewilderment and consider the News item (should you stand by it) to be a concoction of lies and fabrications. Contained within the item is an individual who speaks and names the deceased Sir Peter Morrison (ex MP for Chester). The individual alleges he saw Sir Peter Morrison at Bryn Estyn no less than five times. He alleges “Morrison picked up boys in his “new car” and drove them away” at least “five times”. Throughout the interview he explains how he remembers certain items of clothing and jewelry that Morrison was wearing.
The same individual denied he said those things and accuses Channel 4 of editing the item to suit their own agenda. An agenda of “covering up” and “deceiving the general public about the Bryn Estyn Boys Home”, according to the man you aired on TV. He’s written about it publicly. Ciaran Jenkins has the details and also follows him on twitter. I’ve approached Jenkins but to avail.
Given the above concerns I’d like you to answer some questions which I consider valid in this instance
Was there a cover up by Ch4?
Is Jenkins part of this “cover up”?
Are Channel 4 complacent in this “cover up”?
Did Ch4 follow up the allegations they aired with the appropriate authorities?
If not , why not?
Did Ch4 have any communications with anyone in authority before airing the item?
If so, with whom?
Was there any evidence to support the allegations you aired?
Did Ch4 air the item without obtaining any supporting evidence?
Was there any such evidence to be obtained?
Was there any financial inducements offered to the man in the interview?( Not Gregory)
Were, if there was any financial contracts between Ch4 and the man, arranged and completed?
Did the producer of the item contact the interviewee, if so how?
Alternately, did the interviewee contact Ch4?
Who, if anyone , from the Morrison family did Ch4 consider worthy of contesting the allegations, if anyone?
Given the seriousness of my complaint I feel its fair and just that Ch4 attend to these question with the utmost haste. I will be publishing these questions in the public arena as I feel they are worthy of dissemination throughout the UK and elsewhere. I believe the News item in question reached every part of the globe.
I look forward to your earliest reply
B.A. Honours (Criminology and International Comparative Criminal Justice)