Should McCann Twitter abuser have been doorstepped on TV? for @ConversationUK

mccann

A recent piece, published for The Conversation UK, under Creative Commons licence (republished on Durham University):

Should McCann Twitter abuser have been doorstepped on TV?

By Bex Lewis, Durham University

Brenda Leyland, a 63-year old woman from Leicestershire who had been accused of publishing a stream of internet abuse about the family of missing child Madeleine McCann, has been found dead in a hotel room.

Her death raises important questions about the wrongs and rights of how we handle people who express unpalatable views online.

Leyland had been exposed in a Sky News report as the person behind the Twitter account @sweepyface, which had been used to post offensive messages about the McCanns. These included the accusation that Madeleine’s parents were responsible for her disappearance. When confronted by a Sky News reporter about whether she should have posted such messages, Leyland said: “I’m entitled to do that.”

Days before Leyland’s death, BBC Radio 4 ran a story about how the police were investigating abusive social media messages sent to, or published about, the McCanns. Madeleine’s father Gerry McCann featured, suggesting that these messages are fuelled by press reporting. He added that he thinks more people should be charged for internet abuse and revealed that his family tends to avoid the internet because of the nature of threats and insults they receive.

For obvious reasons, the McCanns had encouraged a high-profile press campaign after Madeleine’s disappearance. But without answers about what happened to Madeleine, conspiracy theories have abounded. Brenda Leyland was one of many to discuss the McCann case online. As Rev Pam Smith, one of my Facebook connections said, are we really saying that people are not “entitled” to share adverse views online?

Leyland said she “hoped she hadn’t broken any laws”, but the Malicious Communications Act 1988, which covers Twitter, notes that it is an offence to send messages to another person which are “indecent or grossly offensive”, threatening or false. If the message is intended to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient, they breach the law.

We have to consider whether Sky has a case to answer in this particular situation too though. The broadcaster’s correspondent approached Mrs Leyland on her own doorstep in a live broadcast. She evidently had no idea that she was going to be confronted or that the footage would be broadcast to the world.

Whether or not we like what Leyland had been doing, she was clearly just one of several people who had been expressing their opinions online. She was certainly not the worst. Is doorstepping people, outing them on TV, and ensuring that their face circulates the internet, really the answer? Had Sky done any research into this woman before they put her face in the public domain? Did they know anything about her mental state? Did she just have the misfortune to be the first person who could be made an example of?

Her case carried echoes of the recent media treatment of Cliff Richard. The BBC was heavily rapped for broadcasting live from his home as police raided it. The police of course need to investigate such stories but it is a worrying sign of our culture that trial by media and even trial by gossip appear to have become acceptable.

Media ethics are typically concerned with truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, public accountability and limitation of harm. After the Leveson inquiry, there has been increased emphasis on press responsibility. But in a time of rapid media change and fast-moving news, broadcasters must ensure they too meet their ethical responsibilities.The Conversation

Bex Lewis does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Tweet Featured on #BBCSML

bbcsml

Today’s programme was pre-advertised as:

Should there be a ‘fat tax’ on sugary drinks and fast food?

This week the government announced a new healthy food school meal initiative across England. This is part of the solution to tackle the growing obesity issue facing the UK. A quarter of British adults are now thought to be obese. The NHS spends around £5billion a year on treating conditions linked to obese patients. Prof Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, told a committee of MPs that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax”.

Would you support a new tax? Should we pay more for unhealthy foods? Or, would this be a case of a nanny state telling us what we should eat?

You can have your say by voting on the question now online or live via SMS during Sunday’s programme: Should there be a ‘fat tax’ on sugary drinks and fast food?

I sent a tweet several days ago – and I think Graham’s were too. As I continue to work with Beyond Chocolate, and think about all the reasons that we eat other than because we’re hungry, an interesting watch. In many ways a ‘fat tax’ doesn’t seem to make much sense, but if that money encouraged food industries to use ‘proper ingredients’ rather than cheap ingredients such as palm oil it might make some sense… we can live in hope – my tweet was slightly ironic I think!

Thanks Vicky for picking up the emotional eating line – was worried amongst the group emphasising education, which seems straightforward, but research has shown that people’s ideas of what is ‘healthy’ change over time, or people return to ‘calories in = calories out’ and I’m not sure it’s that simple either… bits to chew over!

#AdventBookClub: Day 6

The Discipline of Community: (from an interview in Liguorian Magazine, October 1992)

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/good-morning

We were not designed to live alone. Where are our circles of intimacy? Who is making you feel alive? Who says “You are a beautiful person, you are the beloved of God, don’t forget it?”. Not quite in those words, but I had a meeting this morning as having been in Durham for 3.5 months and my job description (which we knew was too big) has been threatening to engulf me … but having been told that are more than happy with what I’m doing, my health is important at the moment – take the time to sleep well, eat well, exercise well, socialise, etc. and know that you are doing a good job but you are more important!

A New Life: Ephesians 4:1-6

This just brings back to mind some of the debates that I’ve seen on Twitter over the past few weeks:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

What does this mean when we have theological disagreements? Do we listen to those with the loudest voice? Those with the best public profile? Those that ask the most questions? One of the people (amongst many) that I’ve seen dealing with the issue of #womenbishops gracefully is Claire (we had a tweetup in Winchester!)… but at what point does being full of grace mean sitting back, accepting the status quo – people need to be challenged she indicates more strongly in a later post.

In discussions on BigBible, have looked at the issue of tweeting in church – and looking at Romans 14:21 & the issue of not being a stumbling block to others in church. This doesn’t mean DON’T tweet in church (for some people it’s powerful), but be sensitive to those who don’t understand it – maybe raise it as a topic in church – explain you’re not playing Angry Birds, and I thought this was a great comment to take further:

… thinking about being/not being a stumbling block to others. What structures of accountability does the CU have. How far is Bristol CU in line/out of line with any National policy? I’m thinking that whatever heartfelt, prayerful reasons the group my have for making this decision, they need to think about the message it gives to the rest of campus, and the world and whether this is a legitimate conflict to enter in to. Is anyone , other than the media, calling them to account for the gospel?

And here’s a (tongue-in-cheek) thought as to what this would look like if the church demanded similar provision that has been acceded in the church for women bishops.

This Advent stuff is definitely making me think about what I engage in daily!

Prayer: I’m going to take the prayer as written:

Lord, we ask for the discipline needed to be a true member of our communities. May we choose and be chosen to be God’s beloved. Amen.

Advent Action: Interesting idea (not feeling crafty!): make a small tree on which to hang apples to remind of failings wishing to avoid this advent … hmm – what’s my equivalent! Just looking out of the window at Durham Cathedral reminds me of many things to be thankful for (way too aware of my failings, trying to concentrate more on what doing well!).

And… off to check Pam’s post for today

#LoveMonday

This story just caught my eye…

There’s a little, grassroots hashtag going around Twitter this morning called #lovemonday and it deserves your attention (even if you have never tweeted in your life). For those of you in the know, it is a bit like #followfriday but instead of suggesting people others should follow (which is also a lovely thing to do!), you simply select 3 people you follow and tell them what you appreciate about them. Then, rather than the mutual backslapping that often occurs on FollowFriday, those people tell 3 people they follow the same and so on and soon we have an entire Twittersphere full of encouragements! And what better thing to do on a Monday eh?!

Read the full post and post your #lovemonday’s!

5 thoughts for Holy Monday #EasterLive

OK, so today on #EasterLive, and in church last night, the focus is on Jesus clearing the Temple.

Thought 1

Our readings last night were: Jeremiah 7; http://plixi.com/p/93388465 and Matthew 21 http://plixi.com/p/93388772, and the sermon was a great mix of theological reflection (the Jews expected this great King, then he reprimanded them), and practical application (do what we sing, and what we do throughout the week, match up?)…

which sent me on a little hunt for material online, including this great piece on ‘Holy Monday‘ (more commonly associated with Catholic celebrations).

Thought 2

What did the Temple look like… I wondered what images 12baskets would have (none under the heading ‘Holy Monday’… others have some to upload?), but ‘Temple’ brought back the following entry:

http://12baskets.co.uk/view/images/temple_mount

Obviously, most of it is now in ruins… but this is a place that I one day hope to see with Oak Hall (I have met so many people who have been with Oak Hall, and have heard nothing but enthusiasm for the trip)., so I thought I’d check out Flickr (Creative Commons again), and brought up a scale model of what it may have looked like at the time:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/508067090/

Thought 3

Flickr is very much about catching photos (whereas 12baskets encourages the uploading of paintings, etc. too), so I wasn’t hopeful when I put in ‘Jesus, Temple, Jerusalem’, but interestingly this image came up… Jesus may have been throwing the Jewish marketplace out of the Church, but should we (as Christians) be more active in the Market Place (whether by that we mean shopping centres… or plenty of people shop (and plenty of other activities) online (hence @bigbible):

Thought 4

What’s going on on the #EasterLive hashtag?

And @easyrew has started a really interesting (and thoughtful) debate re: whether #EasterLive works as an idea… I’m with Bryony… I love seeing people TRY things, then we sit back, talk about it, and see which bits we should take forward/which need tweaking or abandoning!

Thought 5

If you’re keen for another Passion story running in real time, check out @thepassionexp (text, Tweets, Facebook, etc…), which interestingly (actually) could be tagged #EasterLive also…:

Pray that you have a thoughtful Holy Monday, and if you’ve been doing #bigread2011, don’t forget today’s reading.

Icebreaker Exercise: Twittering at #medialit

Heard of Twitter? People moan “about what people had for breakfast”, but Stephen Fry – it’s called Twitter, not Erudite Thoughts… and in many ways is a relationship building tool… and how often will you meet with someone (in person) and dive into e.g. The Theory of Relativity without catching up a bit first… that’s how I use Twitter!

Now. Not going ONTO Twitter itself – it’s the concept/information rather than the mechanics we’re interested in today, instead, we’re using that indispensible tool – “pen & paper”… What we produce in our version of Twitter will be available on the walls so that we can remind ourselves who people are!

So – you will get to work with 5 other people, against a timer – I have an example of mine, which I filled in in around 10 minutes! Twitter is not always about thinking in great depth about what you write, but about ‘going with the moment’. The document.

  • Username (the name you’d like to be known as this week)
  • Bio (160 characters only, what words can sum you up)
  • All tweets = 140 characters (the dashes have been counted out!)
    • #whyruhere: why are you on this course?
    • #mediaexperience: are you a newbie or lots of experience
    • #christianjourney: can you sum it up or give us one highlight?
    • #daftfact: something which will help us remember you

So, timing? We have 40 minutes for this session, and want time to look and chat at the end… so it’s “quick & dirty” thoughts as my South African friend says! Work in pairs, as the timer goes, move onto someone else – and work together.

  • Intro (above): 5 minutes. QUESTIONS?
  • Username/Bio: 10 minutes per pair
  • Tweets: 3 minutes per pair
  • Read out Bios (around 10 minutes)

http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-clock/full-screen/

Place images on the wall and make available throughout the course.

Twittering @ #MediaLit: Instructions

Not getting to “The Digital Revolution” til Thursday, but those of you familiar, please do engage. Social Media for the Scared coming up as our ice-breaker!

Heard of Twitter? People moan “about what people had for breakfast”, but Stephen Fry – it’s called Twitter, not Erudite Thoughts… and in many ways is a relationship building tool… and how often will you meet with someone and dive into e.g. The Theory of Relativity without catching up a bit first… that’s how I use Twitter!

Now. Not going ONTO Twitter itself – it’s the concept/information rather than the mechanics we’re interested in today, instead, we’re using that indispensible tool – “pen & paper”… What we produce in our version of Twitter will be available on the walls so that we can remind ourselves who people are!

So – you will get to work with 5 other people, against a timer – I have an example of mine, which I filled in in around 10 minutes! Twitter is not always about thinking in great depth about what you write, but about ‘going with the moment’.

· Username (the name you’d like to be known as this week)

· Bio (160 characters only, what words can sum you up)

· All tweets = 140 characters (the dashes have been counted out!)

o #whyruhere: why are you on this course?

o #mediaexperience: are you a newbie or lots of experience

o #christianjourney: can you sum it up or give us one highlight?

o #daftfact: something which will help us remember you

So, timing? We have 40 minutes for this session, and want time to look and chat at the end… so it’s “quick & dirty” thoughts as my South African friend says! Work in pairs, as the timer goes, move onto someone else – and work together.

· Intro (above): 5 minutes. QUESTIONS?

· Username/Bio: 10 minutes

· Tweets: 3 minutes each

· Circulation Time: 10 minutes

· (Slippage time: 3 mins)

http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-clock/full-screen/

Cows, Canada

Twudder

I love watching the company “Cows“, who are based on Prince Edward Island (ringing any bells for you Anne of Green Gables lovers out there?), which started out as an ice cream shop, but so many people loved the subverted designs that the staff were wearing, that people kept asking to buy their t-shirts – so Cows now produces many clever designs. As I’ve been updating my Wishlist, these fit 2 of my current interests: Twitter and YouTube, and I think these would be awesome t-shirts to have! I ordered a skiing (tongue stuck to the pole) t-shirt many years ago, but it was always that bit too big… International postage wasn’t too bad.

Portwiture

I talked about Portwiture on my Digital Fingerprint blog, and in writing about it for Super Fun Days Out Adrenablog, thought I’d check again to see what I’d been tweeting about – and just thought this was so colourful that I’d put it up! Not sure what the Coke bottles are about – don’t like the stuff – even when it’s “good for you”!
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I chose pair 4: as my specs, should be ready by 17th October!

Dr Bex Lewis, awaiting resurrection… of @drbexl on Twitter!

Still awaiting the un-suspension of my @drbexl account. Still can’t work out why it could possibly have been suspended, aside from the fact that I tweeted roughly every minute for certain sections of the conference! Got the conference guys starting a campaign – well, you never know!!

Check out #freedrbexl!

Winchester Web Scene

Proof positive I was there tonight (and I know, I have a bit of a backlog of other blog material on this blog). My other blog has gone crazy today after that New York Times article yesterday, and yes, I am behind on my tasks for today (and yes it’s nearly tomorrow)! See more about the Winchester Web Scene, formed in November 2008, growing monthly I do believe – not a networking business-card exchange kind of evening, but a chat with people who have shared interests – some coders, some developers, some content writers, some social media types…

Press-Packer: Open Farm Sunday

LEAF: ‘Linking The Environment And Farming’
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) was set up in 1991. At that time, the gap between consumers and farmers was getting wider and the need to meet and understand both sides of the debate was essential. For the first time a group of farmers, environmentalists, food and agricultural organisations, consumers, government and academics got together to do something positive for the farming industry.

They were motivated by a common concern for the future of farming and keen to develop a system of farming which was realistic and achievable for the majority of farmers. Based on work in Germany that had been carried out since 1986, LEAF was established to develop and promote Integrated Farm Management.

Open Farm Sunday (Next Date: 13th June 2010)
Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old to enjoy the living, vibrant countryside. Take time to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery, experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. Discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and taste the produce. So come and feed your senses on Open Farm Sunday.

Each event will be unique with its own activities – based around the host farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers market or picnics.

Churches’ Media Council, 2009

Currently at the Churches’ Media Council (officially retired last night, to be renamed the Church and Media Network) Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Already over halfway through, and it’s really interesting. Haven’t got time for a full-blog as need to get back into the swing, but thought I would register my presence here, and can add a blog, or blogs later, as the mood takes!

So far we have already heard from:
Plus I’ve been to Strand events on “Online and New Media” (see photo 1, photo 2) and Fringe Events on “Googling God” and “Bliss Radio“, plus chatted with several people and eaten far too much stodge! Special dinner in about 15 minutes! We still have more to come tomorrow…
Twitter at #cmconf
With no official hashtag designed for the conference, and #cmc and #cmc09 already in use by other organisations, have started the hashtag #cmconf, which would be great to use longer-term! I have identified the following Twitterers as being at this conference, mostly by searching for “churches media”, but also identifying some face-to-face. Today I’ve worn my “Keep Calm and Carry On” t-shirt to help identification of me: http://www.twitter.com/drbexl:
Unfinishedchris is also here, but (s)he wants their identity kept a secret!