The Home Secretary has ordered that those involved in extremist parties such as the Radical Islamist Extremists and neo-Nazis should be banned from making television appearances and broadcasting to the public. She declared that those who take part in these activities do so ‘for the purpose of overthrowing democracy’.
Now let’s look at the possible reasons behind this plan of action from the Conservative party. Is it justified and what will it achieve? In one sense this plan of action will just create more aggravation and hatred towards the UK from extremist parties by segregating those individuals involved. This could cause outrage and retaliation from extremist parties as they plan to be cast out from British broadcasting as part of the Conservative Party’s 2015 election manifesto.
However, from a British citizen’s point of view, I think overall this a brilliant decision for the nation as a whole. For once the Conservative Party have presented a law which benefits every British citizen. This is an action that has been needed for a long time, as extremist parties offer nothing to society except putting fear into the lives of the citizens. Men, women and children should not have to turn their televisions on to see the extreme views of individuals and groups and feel as though their own livelihood is at risk.
Despite what I believe as a British citizen, as a journalist I do not believe this decision to ban extremist parties from our television screens is the right way to go. Now you may think this seems a little bit hypocritical, and maybe it is, but I have to look at this from two different viewpoints: my personal one and my journalistic one. Reporting every single piece of possible news is one of the first things you learn in journalism. If there is a story, you report it. If there is a story and that group or individual want to come on to a specific news station and broadcast their views, that’s an even bigger story and these attract audiences. Now we have the case where the Conservative Party plans to take away a section of the news.
The most important rule of journalism is that we report for the public, if something is in the public interest it needs to be broadcast and the public has the right to be informed of news and events occurring worldwide. If the Conservatives take this away from the public, journalists are no longer following the most basic of rules. Theresa May et al are not only taking information and knowledge away from the public, but they are also taking away the ethical code that all journalists must follow.
This is a very difficult situation to write about as I can see both the positives and the negatives of both sides. However, the main burning issue with this new law the Conservatives wish to put into action is simply that they are taking away the freedom of speech that every citizen in Britain is entitled to. Not allowing groups and individuals to broadcast their views on television is in essence taking away freedom of speech. But then do extremist parties deserve that time on television to spread their propaganda? It’s certainly not an easy decision to make.
By Matthew Baron