Tuesday 11 August 2020
Select a region

“Social media isn’t the place for serious debate”

“Social media isn’t the place for serious debate”

Thursday 16 July 2020

“Social media isn’t the place for serious debate”

Tempting as it may be to wade into a heated online debate, politicians should recognise that Facebook and Twitter are not the right forums for reasoned discussion, according to the man tasked with keeping an eye on their behaviour.

Commissioner for Standards Paul Kernaghan made his comments after dealing with a complaint against Deputy Montfort Tadier made by a member of the public over comments the politician had made in the Politics Jersey Facebook group.

With the legitimacy, funding and fate of the Sir George Carteret statue in St Peter still dividing opinion, Deputy Tadier contributed to an online debate last month, which prompted a number of complaints.

Four were quickly dismissed by Mr Keraghan because he concluded that the politician was simply expressing an opinion, but a fifth was more detailed and serious: alleging that Deputy Tadier had indirectly mocked victims of child abuse in Jersey. 


Pictured: Some of the comments were in relation to the debate over the Sir George Carteret statue, which was recently covered in paint.

After hearing the Deputy's defence, Mr Kernaghan judged that he had not stepped over the line, but the Commissioner offered clear words of advice to all politicians:

“Deputy Tadier has clarified the background to his posts and I am satisfied that he did not breach the Code of Conduct by his actions.

"He acknowledged that he has learnt a lesson about social media postings, and I believe many opinion formers worldwide have realised that truncated posting fora are often poor environments for detailed, nuanced, and complex debates." 


Deputy Montfort Tadier joined an online debate on the Politics Jersey Facebook page.

The Commissioner added that, as a rule, he had no interest in investigating online exchanges, except when such factors as bad language or 'malicious intent' came into play.

Previously, he has said that his role is not to rule on 'Twitter spats' which lend themselves to 'frivolous and vexatious' complaints.

Pictured top: Commissioner for Standards Paul Kernaghan.

Sign up to newsletter



Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by nigel pearce on
I don't read either Facebook or Twitter and totally agree that the politicians should not conduct their (our) business via either.
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?