Religious Watch

 2016: April-June

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  Rule 3.3 No blaspheming...

Ofcom extends TV censorship rules to ban insults of religion


Link Here 9th May 2016
Ofcom logoOfcom have issued the following announcement in the latest complaints bulletin

On 4 May 2016 Ofcom published changes to the rules in Section Three of the Broadcasting Code, and accompanying guidance, to ensure they are as clear as possible for broadcasters.

We publicly consulted on our proposals to revise Section Three of the Code in January 2016.

Section Three relates to crime. It prohibits the broadcast of material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime, or to lead to disorder. It also helps to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in services of harmful and/or offensive material. Ofcom has updated the title of the Section from Crime to Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse and introduced two additional rules which apply to content containing hate speech and abusive or derogatory treatment.

Presumably the new rules are:

Section Three: Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse

Hatred and Abuse

3.2 Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.

3.3 Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context. (See also Rule 4.2).

I bet some religious people will be celebrating, not quite realising that it will be themselves who will get caught out by the new rules when they inevitably insult other religions.

Any by way of examples, the latest Complaints Bulletin chastises:

  • the islamic channel Noor TV for spreading hatred of jews.
  • the christian channel SonLife Broadcasting Network for insulting muslims

 

  Extremism, propaganda and censorship...

David Cameron set to introduce a bill that will include giving Ofcom the powers to censor TV prior to broadcast


Link Here 6th May 2016
counter extremism org logoThe Daily Mail reports that the government is set to introduce a new bill with a raft of measures to counter muslim extremism.

Among those measures is the enabling of TV pre broadcast censorship. Ofcom is to be given given extended powers to suspend broadcasts deemed to include unacceptable extremist material .

The Daily Mail article also reveals that a covert Home Office unit has been established to influence the views of young British Muslims using online propaganda tools. The secret campaign aims to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change and a different voice from Islamic State's persuasive online propaganda.

The Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) had one initiative in which it advertised itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees. Employees had face-to-face conversations with students without them knowing it was a government programme. The official description  of the group is:

Established in 2007, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) is a cross-departmental strategic communications body based at the Office for Security and Counter-terrorism (OSCT) at the Home Office. RICU aims to coordinate government-wide communication activities to counter the appeal of violent extremism while promoting stronger grass-roots inter-community relations.

Offsite Comment: Government floundering with a legal definition of 'extremism'

5 National Secular Society logo th May 2016. See  article from freethinker.co.uk

It's now reported by the Guardian that the counter-extremism bill, cast as the centrepiece of Cameron's legacy programme of legislation, is floundering because the government can't seem to find a legally robust definition of extremism.

It is understood that the bill, to be announced in the Queen's speech on 18 May, has been through dozens of drafts and Whitehall officials are still struggling to find a definition of extremist that will not be immediately challenged in the courts.

See the full  article from freethinker.co.uk

 

 Commented: Met Police: armed wing of the offence-taking industry...

Man ludicrously arrested over non threatening tweet referencing the worldwide debate about support for terrorism


Link Here 2nd April 2016
doyle tweetMatthew Doyle was arrested for posting a non threatening tweet with a rather blunt criticism of the muslim community. He tweeted:

I confronted a Muslim woman in Croydon yesterday. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said 'nothing to do with me'. A mealy mouthed reply.

His comment went viral, being retweeted hundreds of times before he eventually deleted it. Doyle told the Telegraph he had no idea his tweet would be the hand grenade it has proven to be - and that Twitter's 140 character limit made the encounter sound vastly different to how he thought it went.

Doyle said the tweet was intended as a joke and explained further:

What everyone's got wrong about this is I didn't confront the woman, he said. I just said: 'Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?'

I'm not some far-right merchant, I'm not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism, he says. If I was xenophobic I wouldn't live in London.

He added however that he does believe Muslims aren't doing enough to speak out against terrorism.

Doyle was charged and was due to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court on Saturday. But on Friday night the Met police said the charge had been dropped after it emerged the police officer in question had jumped the gun and charged Mr Doyle when in fact he needed CPS approval to do so. In a statement, the Met said:

Following discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Doyle is no longer charged with the offence and will not be appearing at court. Police may not make charging decisions on offences under Section 19 of the Public Order Act. There will be further consultation with CPS.

But of course the police arrest will have already sent the message that islam is beyond even mild criticism, adding to the undercurrent of feeling that people are censored from simply criticising a religion that begets so much violence around the world. No wonder people are looking to the likes of Donald Trump to counter a world where political correctness has gone mad.

Offsite Comment: Met Police: armed wing of the offence-taking industry

2nd April 2016. See  article from spiked-online.com by Henry Williams

Spiked logoWithin hours of sending his tweet, Doyle received a knock on the door from the Metropolitan Police, and was remanded in custody on charges of inciting racial hatred. Doyle spoke about the arrest this weekend: I cannot understand why I was detained, my flat trashed, my passports seized, and two PCs, two tablets and my phone taken. Doyle, we should remember, was not arrested for anything he did -- he was arrested for something he said on Twitter.

...Read the full article from spiked-online.com

 

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