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Retribution...

Another religious broadcaster fined for inciting violence


Link Here21st September 2020
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom explained its fine for Panjab Radio:

Panjab Radio is a faith and cultural radio station for the UK Asian community, broadcasting in Punjabi.

On 24 August 2018 at 22:00 Panjab Radio broadcast the Shamsher Singh Rai Programme, an occasional show on the station, with around four editions per month. The programme focused on Punjabi poetry and featured live calls from listeners expressing their feelings through poetry.

During this programme, the presenter advocated, justified and supported violent retributive action against those he considered to have shown disrespect towards Sikh places of worship. He did this without challenge or other sufficient contextual justification.

In accordance with Ofcom's Procedures for the consideration of statutory sanctions in breaches of broadcast licences, Ofcom considered whether the Code breaches were serious, deliberate, repeated or reckless so as to warrant the imposition of a sanction on Panjab Radio.

Having considered the representations made to us, Ofcom has decided to impose a financial penalty of 30,000 and to direct the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

The Scottish government is deliberately intending to stifle free speech...

With a disgraceful new bill whose public consultation has just closed


Link Here 26th July 2020
Full story: Scotland stifles free speech...Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill
A public consultation has closed on changes to Scotland's hate crime laws that will diminish free speech even further.

The plans to make it a criminal offence to stir up hatred, criticise or insult anyone based on their age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The bill will massively step up the definitions of what people are not allowed to stay lest it be considered insulting to easily offended identity groups, particularly sensitive religions. The bill also extends from people's words into the possession of material that might be considered critical of sensitive identity groups.

The disgraceful bill has been opposed by many particularly the most effected, like newspapers.

Opposition to the bill has united the Catholic Church and the National Secular Society in opposition to the plans - along with academics, playwrights and newspaper columnists who all say they fear the proposed legislation will pose a threat to their freedom of speech. For example comedians could become too frightened to dare make a joke about a Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman walking into a bar.

The public were invited to make their views known to the Scottish parliament's justice committee before midnight on 24 July.

Amanda Millar, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said:

It was right that laws provide a clear message that hatred should have no place in our society. However, we have significant reservations regarding a number of the bill's provisions and the lack of clarity, which could in effect lead to restrictions in freedom of expression, one of the foundations of a democratic society. We have real concerns that certain behaviour, views expressed or even an actor's performance, which might well be deemed insulting or offensive, could result in a criminal conviction under the terms of the bill as currently drafted.

Scottish Labour criticised the offence of stirring up hatred and accused ministers of failing to learn the lessons of the repealed Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. The party's justice spokesman James Kelly said:

There is a significant divergence from similar law in England and Wales where intent is required for a person to be criminalised for behaviour which another finds insulting. Under the current proposals, the law here would not require this intent to be present - which sets an alarming legal precedent and could result in the criminalisation of expressions of religious views.

In its submission to Holyrood's Justice Committee, the Scottish Newspaper Society warned that it contained highly dangerous measures which pose a serious threat to freedom of expression in its broadest sense. The organisation's director, John McLellan, said it had the potential to provoke a string of vexatious complaints against journalists and columnists, which could then lead to police investigations. He raised further concerns about provisions against communicating insulting material:

It would also be an offence to distribute it, which potentially could see newspaper delivery boys and girls, or shops, fall foul of the law.

Allowing courts to direct the destruction of material had echoes of darker times and could lead to the banning of books or censorship of the internet, he warned.

He added that JK Rowling, who has recently faced a deluge of criticism from transgender rights activists after she expressed her views online, would almost certainly have seen her subjected to a police investigation had the proposed law been in force.

 

 

On the wrong wavelength...

Ofcom sanctions religious channel for 'potentially harmful' beliefs


Link Here18th May 2020
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

Ofcom has today imposed a sanction on the licensee Loveworld Limited, which broadcasts the religious television channel Loveworld, after a news programme and a live sermon included potentially harmful claims about causes of, and treatments for, Covid-19.

Our investigation found that a report on Loveworld News included unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic, and that this was the subject of a global cover-up. Another report during the programme presented hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid-19, without acknowledging that its effectiveness and safety as a treatment was clinically unproven, or making clear that it has potentially serious side effects.

A sermon broadcast on Your Loveworld also included unsubstantiated claims linking the pandemic to 5G technology; as well as claims which cast serious doubt on the necessity for lockdown measures and the motives behind official health advice on Covid-19, including in relation to vaccination. These views were presented as facts without evidence or challenge.

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting controversial views which diverge from, or challenge, official authorities on public health information. However, given the unsubstantiated claims in both these programmes were not sufficiently put into context, they risked undermining viewers' trust in official health advice, with potentially serious consequences for public health.

Given these serious failings, we concluded that Loveworld Limited did not adequately protect viewers from the potentially harmful content in the news programme and the sermon, and the news reports were not duly accurate. We have directed Loveworld Limited to broadcast statements of our findings and are now considering whether to impose any further sanction.

 

 

Commented: Scotland hates free speech...

And so is enacting extreme legislation to silence the views of the people


Link Here15th May 2020
Scotland's government has joined the ranks of many others around the world who are actively working on constraining free speech by amending existing laws to make them even more oppressive than before.

The current law restricting 'hate crimes' is similar to that in England and Wales, covering threats, abuse, and insults.

But based on what's described as a hard-line report from 2018, Scotland's upgraded Hate Crime and Public Order Bill proposed by parliament now looks to change that and introduce three new offences,

  • The first will enable for prosecution of doing anything, or communicating any material, which is threatening or abusive and is intended or likely to engender hatred based on age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender or intersex identity.
  • Secondly having material of this kind in one's possession meant to be in any way communicated to others will in itself now be a crime,
  • and thirdly, managers in organizations of any type not acting to prevent the new set of criminalized behaviours will be criminalized themselves.
The proposals' critics say it is anti-liberal and must not be allowed to pass, pointing out that the bill takes the focus away from punishing acts of hostility based on their gravity regardless of who they target, and instead introduces a tiered approach, depending on groups that are designated as considered more 'worthy' of the victimhood status.

 

Offsite Comment: Scotland's new hate speech law will be too censorious

7th May 2020. See article from secularism.org.uk

Offsite Comment: Scotland's chilling new blasphemy law censorious

12th May 2020. See article from spectator.co.uk

The new Hate Crime Bill proposed by the Scottish Government is a sweeping threat to freedom of speech and conscience. By Stephen Daisley

Offsite Comment: Hate speech: blasphemy for the 21st century

15th May 2020. See article from spiked-online.com by Emma Webb

We must never give the state the power to criminalise speech.

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