ITV News – Journey UK
We were recently informed by ITN that they had filmed undercover at meetings of TAG (The Accountability Group), our group for sexual addiction, as well as in a meeting with one of our directors.
This was our response to their letter, in which they told us that this was in the context of an investigation into “conversion therapy”:
We acknowledge receipt of your letter of 8 November 2018, in which you indicate your use of an undercover reporter and covert recordings to investigate the work of Journey UK.
Firstly, we view it as a matter of particular regret that you should have recorded any aspect of the TAG meetings.
Its cornerstones are confidentiality and anonymity. We feel confident that you would not seek to chase a story with hidden microphones in an AA meeting. We are dismayed that you should have done so at TAG, which runs on similar lines.
Any published account of what is shared at TAG will have a chilling effect on those who attended and who are already struggling with serious issues. Your invasion of their privacy and possible broadcast of any material from it carries with it the risk of causing serious harm. We are surprised that a responsible broadcaster would want to behave in such a manner.
We support TAG but it is autonomous. What may be said at those meetings may not reflect our views, any more than what is shared at an AA meeting – either from the chair or from the floor – necessarily reflects the views of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The text referred to in TAG meetings, “Falling Forward”, was not in fact written by anyone at Journey UK. Insofar as it refers on one of its pages to homosexuality as an addiction, we would not agree with classifying homosexuality in those terms. We do not believe that to be the case and are happy to make that clear. In the light of your investigations we will also be reviewing our other materials.
We believe that God created marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. But we do not elevate marriage into a particular goal for everyone. We welcome single, married or divorced people, and whether or not they identify as LGBTQI.
You refer to a former team member. He has not been involved in the ministry for nearly 10 years. We were very sorry to hear he has not been well recently.
We would be grateful, in conclusion, if you could put out this short statement along with any broadcast:
“ITN have approached us in relation to the practice of conversion therapy, which their reporter accepts is in fact very difficult to define. We do not ourselves provide counselling, although we are sometimes asked to recommend counsellors. We were happy to recommend to the ITN reporter someone known to us as a counsellor who is accredited and who subscribes to a professional code of conduct which prohibits conversion therapy. We were dismayed that ITN then sought to use covert microphones in the pursuit of this story at a confidential group for men with sexual addiction. We feel sure that ITN would not have used such devices in an AA meeting. The group in question is open to those of all orientations and gender identities”