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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Democracy Project's Kesler Puts Media Ombudsmen Under Microscope, Finds Guardian's Mayes Sadly Lacking in Aslam Controversy

Media Ombudsmen rarely get much in the way of commentary in the Blogosphere, but Democracy Project's Bruce Kesler has the most in-depth and rigorous analysis I've seen anywhere recently of the relevance of the institution in general and the performance of several of the most prominent incumbents at major media institutions, including most notably The Guardian's Ian Mayes.

Kesler documents in detail how Mayes' performance following revelations of The Guardian's recently terminated employment of Dilpazier Aslam, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, dubbed by British intelligence as the most radical of radical Muslim groups in Britain, did nothing to enhance the reputation of the Ombudsman. Aslam was a "journalistic trainee" used, incredibly enough, by The Guardian to cover the Tube bombing of 7/7.

In a masterfully understated paragraph, Kesler summarizes his findings:

"One may reasonably conclude several things from the above. First, if not for the uproar from those outside The Guardian, led by bloggers The Guardian reporter derides, it would likely not have become aware or taken action about Aslam’s membership in a violence-espousing extremist organization.
"Second, there does appear to be an obvious split personality among The Guardian’s staff. Third, on a public issue of fundamental relevance to the credibility and journalism procedures of The Guardian, matters definitely within its ombudsman’s legitimate purview, readers are lacking Mr. Mayes’ independent examination of what, by ombudsmen’s own goals, the public needs and deserves."

You can read the whole Kesler analysis here.