Following on from yesterday's plea by a tabloid journalist for someone to identify Jon Venables, one of today's tabloids has come up with a clever bit of logic when it comes to our 'right to know':
Meanwhile, prison officers were outraged by the secrecy surrounding the killer, saying the move meant every 20-something, newly-imprisoned lag risked being attacked by vigilantes.
“There will be bloodshed,” one officer said. “The sooner we know more about what he’s done and where he is, the better.”
Cunning. The only way you'll stop vigilante attacks is to name him, so that the vigilantes only attack him, and not anyone else thinking that it's him! I suppose that makes sense, in a twisted way. At least, it would make sense if they hadn't identified his exact age, and then gone on to speculate about the offence for which he has been recalled to jail, and then gone on to speculate also about the conditions under which he would be held in jail. You know, apart from all that, it's entirely responsible reporting.
And so the drip-drip of details goes on. As I said yesterday, I can't help suspecting that the papers and broadcasters are secretly hoping that someone will release details on the internet, that they will become widely spread through social networking, and that they can then go on to reveal them, using the excuse that the information is in the public domain. They're sly enough to do that. They're certainly trying to create a clamour, and much as they try and distance themselves from the 'bloodshed' of vigilantes and pretend it's nothing to do with them, they've created the environment in which such attacks will flourish.
The question that never gets asked is whether there might be an understandable reason why these men's identities aren't released. They claim it's all about our 'right to know'. Really? Really about our right to know? Or about their need to flog a few papers?
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