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Media monkey business

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We have taken a different approach

The disturbing way the mainstream media in Wales have reported the death of a young black man, and the protests which followed it, have highlighted the different approach of The Eye.

After an official inquiry into the handling by the police of Mohamud Hassan’s death in Cardiff, a misconduct notice was served on a sixth officer, which was ‘revealed’ as front page news in the South Wales Echo with a detailed 22 paragraph ‘report’ on page three.

Its sister website WalesOnline headlined the ‘story’: “Sixth police officer served misconduct notice in Mohamud Hassan investigation”.

Both proclaimed: “In March the police watchdog (The Independent Office for Police Conduc [IOPC]) announced that more than 40 officers were being questioned over the death of Mr Hassan”.

In the sixth paragraph it was declared: “In response to the sixth misconduct notice, an IOPC spokesperson said on Wednesday (last week): ‘We have now served a notice at the level of misconduct on a custody sergeant who was on duty during Mr Hassan’s detention'”.

Issuing a police misconduct notice following the death of Mohamud Hassan is not serious

The reality is that (like the others) this is a relatively minor misdemeanour, which, if proven, is likely to lead only to a reprimand.

When it was issued, as the IOPC itself stated in the Press Release: “This notice relates to the quality of the risk assessment undertaken on Mr Hassan when in custody. Notices have previously been served on four other police officers and one custody detention officer as part of our ongoing investigation.

“One of the notices for a police officer is at gross misconduct level, the remainder are at misconduct level. Service of a misconduct notice does not necessarily mean an officer has committed any wrongdoing. It is to notify an officer that their conduct is being investigated.”

A taser was not used by the police

The IOPC also said that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Hassan was ‘tasered’ at any stage either before or during his detention, adding that body worn video footage showed that on arrival at Mr Hassan’s flat in Newport Road, Cardiff a number of the occupants had injuries, and officers sought explanations about where the injuries came from.

But the whole manner this death and ensuing demonstrations, have been reported by the mainstream media in Wales has been alarming, and there has been virtually no investigation into the background.

The Hassan protest – masks but no social-distancing

There was no mention in reports on BBC Cymru Wales Today (WT)  that people had apparently flouted lockdown rules during the protests which followed his death, or whether there was an exemption and what the reason might have been for one.

There was no reference either to these rules being broken in the coverage online on the BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) website, even though clear pictures were included.

‘My ‘deep concern’ must be in here somewhere!’

It merely stated: “More than 300 people took part in a march from the city centre to Cardiff Bay police station”.

Continuing: (Mark) Drakeford (First Minister of WalesFMW) said reports of the story were ‘deeply concerning’.

“’Our thoughts must be with the family of a young man who was… a fit and healthy individual,’ the Cardiff West MS said.”

Mainstream journalists in Wales have not reported the background

WalesOnline also did not refer to the apparent transgression of social distancing rules in its ‘report’, when it published that:  Hundreds of people protested outside Cardiff Bay police station tonight following the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, after he was released from police custody”.

The ‘news’ was much the same on the ITV Cymru Wales website.

Breaching these rules, however, was the dominant issue in UK news reports at the time, amid cruicial government advice on this important subject, and a soaring death rate caused then by coronavirus/Covid-19.

Mainstream journalists have not looked into important matters

One senior former executive at BBC CW told The Eye exclusively:  “This was shallow journalism.  Mentioning the social distancing rules is basic stuff”.

This was the official guidance at the time: “To reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus, you should minimise time spent with people you do not live with, and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.

“Social distancing is essential to stop the spread of the virus, as it is more likely to spread when people are close together.

“An infected person can pass on the virus through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing even if they do not have any symptoms.”

The demonstrations themselves were supported by organisations and people with questionable backgrounds, but this, too, has not been brought out by the mainstream media.

Only our journalists have done so.

A picture of the march was posted on social media by Desolation Radio (DR) which has also said in the past: “Massive shout out to the people of Wrexham who’ve spent all day beating up English people – truly gods work, a big well done to all involved!!

DR describes itself on Twitter as a “Podcast on Welsh politics, society & culture” and has declared: “We were joined by our good friend and comrade Paul (O’Connell) to reflect on the global crisis of capitalism and think about what lies ahead in the coming years”.

A photograph of the protest outside Cardiff Bay police station was published on Twitter by the organisation, which wrote above it:  “‘South Wales police are corrupt, everyone knows it, they are institutionally racist and they exist just to bully our community, to bully young black men…they need to be put into special measures’”.

But plainly the ‘beating up English people’ tweet by DR, incurred the wrath of a leading politician in Wales.

The Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament (SC/WP) member then, Neil McEvoy tweeted to them:  “Quite incredible you have not deleted that tweet.  Shame on you.” with the hashtag “bigots”.

The founder of DR and co-host of the podcast is Daniel (Dan) Evans, a research assistant at Cardiff University (CU) who proclaims on the website for the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD): “Outside my research on Welsh education, I am presently writing a book for the University of Wales Press which explores the themes which arose in my PhD, namely the work of (Marxist theoretician) Antonio Gramsci, in particular his concept of passive revolution and its relevance to Wales and the UK. 

The ‘research’ Dr Evans announces is for the Welsh Government’s (WG) Foundation Phase of early years education for children aged three to seven, and he states on the WISERD website:  “An important but neglected issue in the implementation of the Foundation Phase is the access that children have to the Foundation Phase curriculum before they enter the reception year in primary schools”.

Mirain Rhys works with a man who publicises beating up English people

He adds:  “… my role at WISERD is to work with Dr Mirain Rhys (of Cardiff Metropolitan University [CMU]) in researching the varied ways in which local authorities in Wales are providing flexible, pre-school access to the Foundation Phase”.

Meanwhile on his blog, Lee Jasper said: “Mahamud was subjected to a statutory post-mortem conducted on behalf of the state by Dr Ryk James whose interim report and findings whilst inconclusive at this stage on the precise cause of death, nevertheless flatly contradicts the assertion by South Wales police that their enquiries “found no evidence of any significant injury or excessive force…” being used by their officers during the arrest and detention of Mr Hassan.

Lee Jasper – ‘we may not have seen the last of riots’

Mr Jasper was a candidate for the far left Respect Party at the Croydon North by-election in November 2012, and has written in a UK paper:  “we (may) have not seen the last riotous disturbance; for where there is no justice, there can be no peace”.

Another protester was Bianca Ali who was summonsed and can pay a £500 fixed penalty fine or request a court hearing.

Guilty as charged

Mr Hassan had been arrested at the flat on suspicion of breach of the peace, but released without charge the next morning, and his death afterwards prompted several days of demonstrations.

But the mainstream media is guilty as charged in the worrying way it has reported it.

The different approach of The Eye is sorely needed…


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