Often Partisan

Pressing the Press

There has been a lot of criticism on social media and on Blues messageboards with regard to the role that the media have played in the whole Carson Yeung saga. Whether it be the impression that local media haven’t done enough, or that the national media don’t care or even that the HK media don’t know what is happening in Birmingham.

A good portion of my time here has been in connection with the media. I’ve been writing for the Birmingham Mail – for example my story on Liu Xingcheng is here – as well as OP whilst I’ve been out here and both Matthew and myself have been building contacts with the HK press – both English and Cantonese speaking – with the intention of informing them of the disquiet in Birmingham and also finding out new avenues of information for the fans back home.

I can understand why people are disgruntled in some ways. There are a lot of feelings that people had an idea what they thought was happening and recent revelations that have been revealed to the press have only seemed to confirm them further. I think that there is a sense not just of “why wasn’t this written sooner” as much as there is “what are you telling us new?” Again, I can see why people would say that.

For the press, it all comes down to proof. It’s one thing to have it on good authority that something is happening via credible hearsay – it’s another to have documentary evidence that will stand up in court. From my work with the Birmingham Mail I know just how hard it has been to put together stories about information we have documentary evidence on because the libel laws are so draconian. I can appreciate that for some of you this is elementary but I do think that there is the misconception that putting “allegedly” will cover everything when it’s not the case.

Out here, there are similar legal issues. Chief amongst them is the fact that the case is sub judice – which means that the case is literally “under judgement”. Whilst this has changed meaning in the last thirty years, it is still considered unwise legally (and potentially a contempt of court) to publish news that could prejudice an active case and affect due process. Hong Kong law is similar to English law and this means that newspapers such as the South China Morning Post have to be very careful what they write at the moment about Carson Yeung etc to ensure that they don’t get into trouble themselves.

That presents a massive shame, as one thing that has become obvious is that if information is published in the SCMP about a listed company, then it’s common for the said listed company to have to make an announcement to the stock exchange to clarify. As an example, there have been a couple of occasions of late whereby BIH have had to publish an announcement due to a story in the SCMP, explaining and/or clarifying what the news was and how it affects the company. Whilst Mr Pannu has no obligation to make the stock exchange aware of what was in written in the Birmingham Mail last weekend if the SCMP followed suit he’d be almost certain to have to say something to reassure stockholders.

The greater shame appears to be that there isn’t that much interest in the case from newspapers like SCMP. The court case has been reported on but on Monday there was much more media attention for the case involving Rafael Hui (a former senior government member) on the same day in the same court. In comparison, Carson Yeung is small fry and I’ve come to the conclusion it would be difficult to mobilise the press any further about fans sentiment towards him here.

On the minus hand, I think that it has to be said that the feeling that protesting will create extra press attention which will help Blues is incorrect; in the short-term at least I don’t think that there is much extra the fans can do to get the press onside. However, there is hope – the good work that has been done by people like the Birmingham Mail and Blues Trust hasn’t gone unnoticed in media circles and I think that there could be an opportunity for a quicker flow of information from Birmingham to HK or vice versa. It might not sound like much but it’s a good thing – it means that everyone who has an interest in the case in the press is working together sharing information and that resources can be combined to find answers quicker. In the long run, that can only be helpful.

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28 Responses to “Pressing the Press”

  • DoctorD says:

    Al – it sounds like you (or someone else) should be writing lots of stories for the Birmingham Mail and then getting the SCMP to pick up on them too. Then Pannu has to clarify matters to the HKSE.

  • Agent Mcleish says:

    Even our own Premiership obsessed national media seem to have little interest in this story. Even though this is an an example of how owners can affect ALL football clubs. CY did briefly make the news on Radio 4 on Monday morning but other than that nothing much.
    The whole saga reminds me of when C4 Dispatches showed a documentary about dubious football ownership, I expected the press to be full of it the next day but found quite the opposite (probably due to the points you have raised). http://championshiptalk.com/2011/07/19/football-documentary-review-dispatches-how-to-buy-a-football-club/

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Blues are

      1) Not in the Premiership
      2) Not a London club.

      The national media is totally London biased and if you’re not in London (or the North West) then you’re inconsequential.

      If this had happened to West Ham or Fulham the national press would be all over it like a rash.

      • prewarblue says:

        You also fail to mention,,,,,”The Birmingham Evening Mail” although part of the “Mirror Group” newspapers,,,,,is after all just a “”provincial”” that has a bigger interest in the so called big “Premier League” teams than those of other leagues,,,,,,issues regarding any club outside the “Premier League” are of no interest to them or their reporters,,,,,,while I am deeply grateful for Daniel and Matts efforts on our behalf,,,,,,the “Mail” will only print what it thinks will improve its sales figures and quieten our protests,,,,,,this visit will be treated as what is known as a 9 day wonder and will be forgotten by the press [national and provincial ]as soon as another story concerning “Albion or the other lot”.

        the lack of interest in this does not only exsist in China and HK,,,,,has any one heard anything regarding the visit anywhere except the small articles on the pages of the “Mail” ?…..nothing except a passing mention on BBC television regarding the opening of the trial and even less on “Central Television”,,,,,which is supposed to cover “Midlands ” news human interest stories,,,,,being football fans who have not destroyed property or beaten up rival fans recently there is no interest,,,,,protests will have the same effect unless some idiots resort to violence,,,,,THEN there will be interest

  • George says:

    Ok Dan then between you all maybe you can find out why CY paid £30 million plus over the going rate for the Blues? Or maybe you can persuade Liu Xingcheng to ask the question at the next board meeting or AGM. I’m assuming he doesn’t know that the price was far too high.

    Good work. I admire your work ethic and tenacity.

  • thongs says:

    There is nothing like a good old fashioned riot to get media attention. Don’t rule it out.

    • websonic says:

      Thongs – I presume you are joking?
      Look at Wolves – When the club announced that every one of the 400 fans that invaded the pitch will receive life bans when identified, 13,000 handed themselves into Police.

  • Andrew Whalley's Skoda says:

    I think the only thing that will ultimately push them to sell is a ‘loss of face’ amongst their Chinese peers. The Blues Trust need to continue their dialogue with the other shareholders and hopefully they will decide they don’t want to be in the spotlight and that being tarred with same brush as CY and PP is not good for their other business interests and look to force them out.

  • chudlt says:

    I don’t know if I agree with the no protest/loss of face line .Chinese history is full of protest and suppression. It is hardly a new concept to them.
    Without protestation I imagine Hong Kong would still be British.
    Still keep up the good work, yours is the only news with reference to the case that we are getting in the UK media.

  • Quokkasskip says:

    Agree that the lose of face and also lose of money are the 2 key factors that could make shareholders react.

  • Quokkasskip says:

    Dan, great work again. Building local HK connections can only help expose the truth.

    Any nuggets they can give u will be v useful. One really good contact maybe better than lots who don’t really care.


  • Ali Duncan says:

    I sincerely applaud your efforts. It must have taken a hell of a lot of leg work to set up the meets with Liu Xingcheng and all the time you’ve spent with the HK media. You’ve gone above and beyond what any fan could do and your tenacity and man hours is something I have a lot of respect for.

    Thank you for making this sacrifice of your time and your no doubt personal financial input for the good of my (our ) club.

  • B25dave says:

    Daniel ( and Matt)
    excellent work as always and the AGM will certainly have a different feel to the one certain people may have been expecting.Blues Trust will continue on with our efforts but the work we have all begun together may well at least see the beginning of the fraught process of the selling of BCFC for real

  • Paul Carter says:

    If our fans want to see the club sold they could help the situation by packing out the ground week in week out. This makes potential investors sit up and take notice, sadly half empty grounds with toxic atmospheres don’t.

    Idiots calling for boycotts clearly have no love for the club and couldn’t care less about the effect that would have on club employees, team morale.

    I was slated daily for saying there would be no sale by those ‘in the know’ blokes who were all saying it was days away. So naive.

    Bring on the season ticket renewals and pre season tours. Shamrock Rovers away will be a cracking one.

    • Art Watson says:

      That’s one way of looking at it Paul.

      I don’t think you can call supporters idiots for not being prepared to fund PP and his expensive life style out of their hard earned cash.

      Change of ownership,management and success on the pitch will soon increase season ticket membership and generate more interest.The current regime from top to bottom will never achieve this -we need a complete clear out and maybe voting with our feet is the only alternative.

      Just another view Paul but I’m sure you will disagree.

  • Northern Exile says:

    I can sympathise with your thoughts on libel law. British libel law massively favours rich individuals/companies with lots of lawyers who can silence anything awkward that comes out about them. It needs serious reform.

  • tamuffblue says:

    Again I applaud your work and effoert on behalf of BCFC supporters BUT must say that I and thousands of ( shall we say mature fans ) have for decades had to suffer the obvious out an out support for the VILE by THE VILE MAIL !!!!!!! and in turn suffered their contempt of BCFC and its trials and tribulations YES they will do the odd front page here and there BUT whenever and whover should threaten the promised land over BY the expressway THEN real action – real words – real mobilisation of support is activated !!!!!!!! may I remind you of their actions in displacing Ellis – ODreaery – Mac Judas and even tottering on questioning Lerners will and support of the Vile So that is why I am critical of them !!!!!!

  • mark says:

    Cannot wait to get the judge take on carson appeal tommorrow, could be all over..dan and matt you are bcfc.

  • Marky mark says:

    Shamrock rovers hope its on a friday orSat, what a great weekend that will be.

    Whatever happens this summer as long as there’s a BCFC I don’t care

  • Pete says:

    Dan. I made comments which were not rude or likely to have a libel claim in a recent message board on the Evening Mail. It has since been removed along with anyone elses comments. It criticised what the Mail have actually done. My point is this- are the Mail out there reporting on this or are they relyingon your good work? Has there been any investigative journalism which can tell us what has been looked into done by Free Radio or Evening Mail?

    It strikes me the actions of removing comments says it all. A unwillingness to accept any criticism of lack of action/enquiry about this. Maybe I am unfair- but it sums it up when in 2 years there has been nothing new. It has all come via yourselves.

    • prewarblue says:

      Pete,,,,,the “Mail are relying on “Dan And Matt” to supply their copy,,,,,they have no-one else covering this as far as I know,,,,,,,and again as far as we know they have not assisted with the costs of this trip either,,,,,,for that I understand we have a Blues fan {swissjonny ] to thank..

      As for comments being deleted,,,,why were alternative sites such as “Small Heath Alliance”,,,,,O.P,,,,,B.C.F.C forums and others set up ?,,,,,,simple Press censorship,,,,,if you cant read it or hear about it,,,,,,you cant protest about it or discuss it to raise objections when possible

      • Pete says:

        I note the report in yesterdays paper though talking about brilliant investigative journalism and working together with fans….. I posted my view that they have not provided this and within 20 minutes the comments feed was removed. I am sorry but I think the Mail has gone downhill massively in my estimation by trying to claim that they are reporting to a high standard and then removing comments that disagree in a polite way. It is worrying they have done nothing but are now being proactive in order to maintain their reputation after finally getting criticism.

  • OzzyBlue says:

    Sub Judice is something to be respected and wary of – don’t cross the line. That’s why Court Reporters just report in a rather anodyne manner and sketch artists draw the defendant and wigs etc – no cameras. Hong Kong has had, and maybe still has, some of the finest silks in the Commonwealth (talking pre – ’97 here). Opinion is opinion, but when it can influence the outcome of a trial – big problem. There is no ‘trial by media’ in reality, only trial by Law so whatever the press says needs to respect sub judice while this trial progresses – or there may be declared a mistrial with dire consequences. Add to this the heavily-censored nature of both PRC and HK media these days (SCMP is owned by the pro-Beijing Kuok family) and anything that makes China look bad or ‘lose face’ is unlikely to attract much attention. Criminals are a detested class in China and rehabilitation is not as we know it. It’s a big deal for Carson due to the seriousness of the charges. It’s a big deal for BCFC because of the imbroglio with BIH and lord knows what else.
    As the cop said to Jack Nicholson at the end of the great film “It’s Chinatown, man.”

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