Holding the powerful to account in real time

On Monday, the deadline passed for Northern Ireland’s political parties to form a coalition government. For news outlets in Northern Ireland, this outcome probably wasn’t a surprise – relations between the DUP and Sinn Fein entered the deep freeze a while ago and nothing much has changed.

Ahead of the elections, BelfastLive ran a poll seeking views of thousands of readers about the election. Of the results, the one which stood out the most for me was just how disappointed people in Northern Ireland were about the prospect of another election so soon after the last one. Just 7.2% of people retained faith in MLAs as a result of recent goings on at Stormont.

On Monday, Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire delivered a press conference outlining what the deadlock meant. BelfastLive streamed it live on Facebook.

If ever there was an example of journalism bringing politics to the people instantly, and the public mood being summed up instantly and in real-time, then I think this Facebook Live is it.

It’s easy to criticise journalism for not being the same as it once was. Not so many reporters in council meetings, fewer political stories in the papers and so on. But surely this approach shows that with the right digital tools, used in the right way, journalism can be as powerful as ever when holding those in authority to account? A real-time debate around real-time political events?




FOI Friday: Jollies in Cannes, guilty police, empty homes, naughty soldiers and road rage incidents

So does a trip to MIPIM pay off? < Brixton Buzz

£20,000 was taken by Lambeth Council from four property developers to help fund the trip to Cannes by four council employees. A Freedom of Information Request shows that although “conversations took place” at MIPIM World back in March, no actual deals were reached following the local authority jolly.

Which must have been disappointing for all involved…

MIPIM World is the international property fair for corporate developers. It is the Cannes Film Festival equivalent for folk who believe in gentrification. Lambeth Council wanted a piece of the action, but understandably felt slightly nervous about spending £20,000 of local authority money on a trip to the South of France.

Police found guilty of crimes in last five years < Belfast Live

Forty-six police officers in Northern Ireland have been found guilty of committing crimes in the past five years.

According to figures released to Belfast Live by PSNI, the law-keepers have turned lawbreakers by committing a variety of crimes including tampering with a motor vehicle and death by dangerous driving.

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