A case of over redaction


  • There is really only one candidate for the “Word From Today” on this Saturday. Its use was spawned by a situation very close to home: The Jimmy Saville pedophile scandal. That word is “redact”.

Heavily redacted passages in transcript Ms Boaden’s transcript for the Nick Pollard review ©BBC

The dual evils of deference and reputation preservation “at all costs” – that permeate many British institutions – appears to have combined to allow Jimmy Saville to use his unique position in English cultural life, to continue unimpeded in his abuse of young girls. Worst still it seems his activities were perpetrated both on their time and in their employment.

This situation is by no means confined to the BBC. The “great and good” regularly avoid sanction – just look at the unanswered allegations against Michael Jackson. I also recently heard first party testimony that Gary Glitter was allowed to access the “Heaven” alternative night club, when it was owned by Virgin Clubs, with a clearly underage girl. The truth is we just expected better from them as our regular champion.

The investigation has already degenerated into a who said what to whom “bun fight” and is set to continue as the reasons behind why a Newsnight documentary, about the suspicions many had about Jimmy Saville’s behaviour, was cancelled and who was and who was not aware of the BBC’s managed risk programme list.

The Jimmy Saville Saga explained and in recent times “redaction in action

Redact/Redaction Source:

Middle English redacten, from Latin redigere, redct-, to bring back : re-, red-, re- + agere, to drive; see act.(The Free Dictionary)
Redact Definition:
Transitive Verb.
  • to put in writing or frame ( i.e. to give expression to)  (Merriam Webster dictionary)
  • to select or adapt (as by obscuring or removing sensitive information) for publication or release;
  • to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release  (Merriam Webster dictionary)/prepare for publication or presentation by correcting, revising, or adapting (Free Dictionary)
Redact Applications:

Redact in Quote Form/ Redacted used in a sentence 

  • Around the dining table the team sketched out a plan for the coming months, to release the leaked US diplomatic cables selectively for maximum impact. Phase one would involve publishing selected – and carefully redacted – high-profile cables through the Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais. Phase two would spread this out to more media organisations.  Why I felt I had to turn my back on WikiLeaks  © The Guardian

Redaction Cultural Reference:

  • The term Redaction Criticism (Redaktionsgeschichte) was coined by W. Marxen (Mark the Evangelist, 21) to denote the method whereby a researcher investigates how an editor or author expresses his (of her) theological outlook by means of the arrangement and editing of pre-existing traditional material. Traditional material is literally that which is handed on to the author, his sources, in whatever form these may have taken; these sources could include oral sources, written sources and complete gospels. The assumption is that some changes to the sources are theologically motivated, and, therefore, redactionally significant. Often these theological assertions that are redactionally woven into the gospel are subtly and tacitly directed to a situation in the community that the author intends to address. N. Perrin defines the discipline of Redaction Criticism as the determination of “the theological motivation of an author as this is revealed in the collection, arrangement, editing and modification of traditional material, and in the composition of new material or the creation of new forms within the traditions of early Christianity” (What is Redaction Criticism, 1).   source : Crandall University   See also hermeneutics.

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