Sunday, December 8, 2013





There can be no doubt that the Jersey Evening Post - Jersey's only newspaper- is facing a very difficult future.  I was talking to the Editor designate, Andy Sibcy, this week and we touched on this subject.  I told him that it was an obvious fact that the "JEP"  was in trouble. The sales are dropping, advertisers are moving elsewhere, no investigative journalists, repeating what they are told and only a very few believing what is written in it. We have new magazines coming out now who are in competition with the JEP for advertising. Estate Agents are bringing out their own glossy pamphlets and Jersey Insight are in a league of there own. Times are changing and they are changing fast. The printed news is facing a battle that is intensifying by the month. 

Andy Sibcy will taking the helm with the perfect storm brewing on the horizon. Can he make a difference?  

The new generation are the computer generation. They go online for their news. Sales would suggest that they no longer view the JEP as an important or necessary news source. Maybe, and I mean just maybe, could the JEP under new leadership start properly representing the people of Jersey. Not reporting the news but investigating the news. This obviously comes with it's own problems as it is subsidised through advertising by our own government. Can the new Editor be his own man? In Jersey I very much doubt it. I look forward to being proved wrong. 

Times are changing and they are changing fast.

Are we about to see sales fall below 13,000 a day and the paper being reduced to 4 days a week. 

They have some big decisions to make.

Is the writing now on the wall for the JEP?

Rico Sorda
Part Time Investigative Journalist 

David Yelland, 

Former Editor of 

the Sun, 

Speaks Honesty at 


Anniversary Lecture
World Affairs & Lifestyle Commentator

On Friday afternoon I attended a talk by David Yelland, a former Editor of The Sun, organised by the Media Standard Trust and Article 19.
There were various journalists in the auditorium but from what was said in the introduction there was not a single editor or sub editor in sight - even though the organisers went out of their way to extend their invitations to all of them!
What does this tell us?
Yelland admitted that if he were was still an editor he most likely would have not been in the room either! He commented that to speak openly as an Editor is a bad career move - a clue why perhaps none were present.
Yelland's delivery was refreshingly honesty. There was humility in his tone. "Humility is not a characteristic we see much in the mass market press" he said and added that it certainly pays to have a little humility.
He spoke of bullying and how very dangerous it is to have big newspapers in the wrong hands. They can make small men big and small ideas big too - they can make untruths almost seem truths so long as huge generalisations are repeated many times! According to Yelland, it appears that we have come to the place where facts don't' seem to matter anymore, a statement very hard to dispute.
He compared newspapers to pyramid like dictatorial structures where what the editor says goes. This applies even more to the proprietor of the paper.
But has history not shown us how dangerous it is to put immense power in one person's hands? According to Yelland, many newspapers remain dictatorships! In newsrooms anyone who challenges the editor does not remain on the payroll for long.

Is it not ironic as well as hypocritical that the press barons are rejecting the Royal Charter under the guise of a threat to freedom of speech, yet if an editor gets challenged, serious censorship occurs and the challenger gets ousted? What of Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Express here?
He gave a funny (yet chilling) example/story of how far journalists are prepared to go to please the proprietor and in the case of the Sun - Rupert Murdoch. For over 10 years every man at the Sun wore black leather shiny lace up shoes because there was a belief that Murdoch loved them. One day Yelland made some serious enquiries and found out that it was a myth and that somebody somewhere along the line misinterpreted what Murdcoh had said yet the 'sheep' mentality carried on for well over a decade.
He spoke of himself being influenced by the proprietor saying there were mornings when he would wake up pondering which side of the bed would Murdoch want him to get out of and at times wondering what his real view was and what his true thoughts were on various subjects!
Then a grand moment in Yelland's delivery. He vocalised something very profound - that the most potent weapon a newspaper has is to totally ignore a story. We often judge newspapers for the terrible and at times extremely damaging things they print, and think that's the worst they could do, but it is what they do not print that is often the bigger story. 

What if not printing a story that DESERVES to be printed does much more harm?
Yelland posed a great question: How is it that journalism/journalists have become so hated and deviated so far away from a force for good to this sad state of affairs?
He mentioned fear a few times and in the context of being a way of controlling and often impulsing Editor's/Journalists' deeds and words. The editors get sucked into the culture of fear and doing what's raising the margins and figures rather than what's true!
Yelland put forward another question: How is it that journalism as an honest trade went from being a force for good to a force that inflicts suffering on the weak?
There is an awareness that this needs to change. However, we cannot have change without truth! As he suggested a solution to the mess created by the press' abuse of power might be simply for the current editors to accept a chink of light into the debate and a little chink (or even a chunk) of humility.
If journalism is to move on and thrive, journalists need to stop and ask themselves how it is that the industry has become so hated! The British press (and I feel this can be extended beyond British borders) has become the very thing it is there to attack: a vested interest! In Yelland's final words "What a total mess we have made of this and how badly have we failed the British people."
And how badly have they failed Humanity! As a very dear and close friend put it: "'They have robbed humanity of the right to truth."
At the very start of his talk Yelland said that when he left the Sun's office almost 11 years ago he began a long period of re-entry into the human race. Perhaps this is what's needed on prescription for each and every editor and sub-editor - an invitation to re-join their fellow human beings, to break ranks when that is needed, to deepen their self-awareness and to speak up about their own industry without playing it down or censoring what's printed and to come to terms with the fact that just because they shout something from the rooftops does not mean it is True!
Let us remind ourselves that the press and media are all about people and about being of true service to people. It is about the rights of ordinary folks and that the system we are attempting to set up has to serve All and not just a handful of men sitting behind Editorial desks in their black leather shiny lace up shoes.


Póló said...

And there was me thinking the JEP had suddenly improved. Ah, well.

Emma said...

This is stating the obvious but if the JEP goes under, it's their own fault, I'm afraid. Point taken about online media but good organisations will adapt and survive. Given its' suppression of stories, the JEP is not a good organisation . I'm not optimistic about their find humility soon

Anonymous said...

My 25 year old son has never bought a jep & I haven't now for 6 years rely on your good selves & internet for proper researched news not the garbage they spill out & particularly after seeing the jep on newsstand with the "beaming" dean what a disgrace,you are right though the new generation are not buying their paper just need them to vote in elections now & see some REAL changes.

voiceforchildren said...


I have not bought the JEP for more than 8 years and only really got politically aware after I stopped reading it. Perhaps there will be a change of direction when Mr. Sibcy takes over but if it carries on the way it has then it is only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is a bit long. I had to split it PART 1

Well done Rico.

Caugth the mood of the present and future perfectly

The JEP's editorial censorship went hand in hand with their online 'thisisjersey' selective censorship of online comments. They always allowed a few of the weaker counter comments so as to maintain the illusion of credibility and debate but anything hard hitting or containing facts too contrary their spun storyline were suppressed.
This became less and less tenable as people started highlighting JEP-suppressed comments on blog sites. The below is part of a recent comment off Bob Hill's blog which echos your posting:

"It does not actually matter whether the JEP publishes these or not.
Each time it suppresses negative comment it hastens the collapse of their business.
The value of the a media business is measured in the trust of it's consumer base.
Negative equity beckons for the JEP due to it's history of moral bankruptcy.

The management company may be able to protect it's Jersey investment by hastily putting The JEP under the management of it's Guernsey Press subsidiary."


Credibility rescue by the far more respected Guernsey management would still be painful but is one of the few things which might save the JEP.
Whatever happens, the JEP has a hard legacy to live with.

Last elections the JEP burdened us with Bailhache. Will the public fall for the same old codswallop in 2014 ? A few new faces but the same mis-selling.

In a wider context IMO the practical rescue that Jersey Politics needs is a new centre or even centre-right political party to wrestle power off the "Bailhache Party", the Ultra Conservative Establishment Party.
A de facto unopposed dictatorship apparently wielding power behind the scenes and for its own aims and gains, evidently over-integrated with the crown officers / law offices

Party politics is not traditional to Jersey, but the electorate desperately needs to know what it is voting for rather than be faced with the usual bewildering array who have dressed themselves up as 'nice chaps' but who instantly forget their seductive promises.
Even with the best intentions new members usually succumb and join the flock in the States Chamber rather than become an outcast, a "trouble maker"

Time is short and nothing so un-jersey as party politics is going to happen overnight, but if there was a will it could be assembled out of the best of the old blood and capable new blood. Politicians are only human, no one is perfect but names which immediately spring to mind are F. Le Gresley and the knowledgeable but retired Bob Hill, and any who show moral and
intellectual fortitude.
For reasons I will get onto concepts of "Right" and "Left" are of limited relevance in 2013-2014 Jersey.
In order not to be just more of the same-old, a "party of national unity" needs to be inclusive perhaps capable people like Nick Le Cornu. At the risk of causing further conservative palpitations I would even suggest the near constructively-bankrupted and the currently imprisoned if Jersey law does not archaicly render them ineligible. The Christian democrat D. Wimberley maybe?

Anonymous said...

There is a relevant question as to what point does "inclusivity" become so wide that it is untenable, where an affiliation could never be brought together, never mind survive the potential infighting. People can be bound by a common purpose and agree to disagree on other matters.
Unmitigated government by yes-men is failing jersey and repeating the mistakes of the past. We NEED "TROUBLEMAKERS" politicians who think and question and challenge. So called "troublemakers" become less extreme when they have less extreme injustice to fight. Even the astute and researched Stuart Syvret was in government for a number of years before he was destroyed for lifting the lid on Jersey's childcare train crash.
Mr. Syvret was painted as mad and bad by the aforementioned media only to be proved right again in the most devastating and tragic of ways.
If Syvret ever seemed paranoid it is because he was surrounded by enemies on all sides. That was not paranoia that was fact. Fact that may have made him less than polite on occasion, only human as said

Effective opposition is not permitted in Jersey and generally total commitment comes at a great personal price.
People could identify tactical "mistakes" that Syvret or particularly the Pitmans have made. Certainly these "mistakes" are far less fundamental than the mistaken weapons deployed against them.
The Syvret situation speaks for itself but one should highlight that the Pitmans final (on island) appeal was rejected on grounds including that the Sharp Report contained "no criticism of [jurat] Le Breton"! Had to laugh at that legalaise play on words. Firstly the Sharp Report was not a critique of 'Jurat' Le Breton individually. Criticising him was not it's purpose. The Sharp Report merely listed a few FACTS AND ACTIONS by 'Jurat' Le Breton which were so utterly appalling that "criticism" as such was unnecessary.

I said that traditional concepts of "Right" and "Left" are of limited relevance in 2013 Jersey. My reason for saying that is that for the time being Jersey is "Right". There are left leaning individuals who can be a resource on thoughts of social policy and on economic diversification but they are not currently a political force and may never be. The question for 2014 will be is Jersey centre "Right" or rabid-carpet-chewing Tea-Party far "Right".
Democratic "Right" or de facto feudal "Right"

People could think of it as a "government of national unity" which continues to be business friendly but not business' bitch (or 'rent boy' if that is not too sharp a way to put it)

The media in 2014 may ridicule the "lefties" as diversionary scaremongering but the forthcoming battle is between the Democratic Middle Jersey and the far right influence of the unelected crown appointees and factions of the lawyer classes who would usurp the nation and steer us to full independence under their own unchallengeable fiefdom

Those are my thoughts, We need people of whatever political colour to come together and steer Jersey to a better future.

How do voters identify integrity and how can an "integrity party" be made hijack proof ? It can be achieved with the help of individuals who have proved their worth. Many of the names I proffered read like a who's who of JEP/media targets and for some this demonization has become engrained in Jersey culture making critical choice challenging for the electorate

Anonymous said...

The above two-part comment is thought provoking and well articulated. It would seem that only a rather extreme event could jolt the JEP into any sort of self-examination or acceptance of the need to serve a fledgling pro-democracy segment. The same might be said of their readers.

That necessary jolt looks increasingly possible with the imprisonment of Stuart Syvret, who has seen his profile become more international and his blog much more popular, ever since. Jersey's civil rights abuses are accepted as a chilling matter of fact throughout the mainland, and the backwards facing struggle of the current leaders is now considered untenable.

The setting is ripe for crises, a crisis which will forge change in advance of the culture's readiness.

Anonymous said...
Link to Stuart syvret Blog Ethics of a Bangkok Pimp

Incidentally, whilst I’m on the subject of the Bailhache Brothers – people in Jersey will be very familiar with the irreversible fact that, at the time of my unlawful arrest and detention – and the consequent searching of my home without a search warrant – Bill Bailhache issued a flat and unambiguous denial of any prior knowledge of the raid.

3.12 Deputy T.M. Pitman of H.M. Attorney General regarding the decision to arrest Senator Stuart Syvret and search his residence:
Would the Attorney General inform the Assembly whether he was aware in advance of the decision to arrest Senator Stuart Syvret and search his residents, and if he was not, would he inform the Assembly whether the decision to search the Senator’s home without a search warrant was legal?

Mr. W.J. Bailhache Q.C., H.M. Attorney General:
Yes, I was aware in advance of the police decision to arrest Senator Syvret on suspicion of committing offences under the Data Protection Law and to search his residence

Where were the journalists?

Anonymous said...

Ethics of a Bangkok Pimp

Questions asked by Trevor Pitman

This is Jersey

Anonymous said...

Where were the journalists? They were here, on VFC's blog, Stuart's of course, and other blogs. That's where you find Jersey's only investigative journalists.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the posting of older quotes and comments on these blogs. There's now so much wealth of information and significant evidence archived that I need the occasional reminders of important earlier revelations. The one about William Bailhache's dishonesty over advance knowledge of the raid on Stuart's home is one we shouldn't forget.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you are using your skills Rico to look at other important issues. In a fair and honest land the JEP would have been hauled up before the courts for calling itself a NEW'S paper and not a propaganda sheet.

Just to let you know, on a different but topical subject, to show sympathy with the Xmas card appeal for HG, we will also be sending the Dean a Xmas card and fairly hefty donation and the money must be be sent through any channel the Dean wishes to end up in the hands of the wronged lady HG.

No way must the money go to his church, which already costs this island a shed full of money.

I will also be writing to him in the new year asking the Dean to publish the full amount for this honest cause. I hope your many readers help put right, what many consider a wrong, even in a small way. Would it not be wonderful if she received £2,000. She may even be able to purchase a short holiday, put down a deposit on her own accommodation or visit friends.

Maybe the JEP will do an article on how caring islanders were upset by how she was treated and contributed through the Dean, giving her a wonderful present and great start to the new year.

Do you think that is likely given their recent story on how the Dean has had such a hard dark time ?

Thanks for your hard work Rico, Jersey is a more informed place because of you, and knowledge is power.


Anonymous said...

With regards to writing on a wall, will the JEP post this on their Freedom Church article?:

December 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Are we allowed to discuss the JEP picture of Freedom Church members, one of whom is a convicted paedophile?

voiceforchildren said...


Sonia Poulton on JOURNALISM