Who is Charlie?  Not #Tories!  Scrapping our Human Rights? No Way!

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Who is Charlie?

Less than a year ago there was a global outcry, about awful scenes in Paris leading to murders. The victims were expressing their right to free speech through the tool of cartoons. All through history  music, poetry, and satire have been arts through which thoughts can be expressed and shared. It is all part of being human. Can you remember when people carried placards saying, “Je Suis Charlie”, and “I am Charlie?”

Demonstrators in Paris unity march

People took to the streets, and were united in horror and determination. As Suzanne Moore commented at the time in the Guardian. She observed that:

Uncertainty is indeed gut-churning, but more and more it is intrinsic to our freedom. Rigidity, finite values, texts that can never be questioned? This is what we must fear. Those drawn to terror cling to an ideology that allows not a glimmer of uncertainty. To doubt is to be weak. Ambiguity is a threat.

At that time, Mr Cameron, defended the rights to free speech, at least is recorded to have supported the cartoon. As such a defender of free speech, I imagine therefore that he will also defend the right to free speech of resident in Bristol, who has used the medium of Art to depict Mr Cameron as a danger to the future of the NHS.

PAY-Tony-DavisThe Daily Mirror reports that Tony Davis, faces prosecution if he refuses to remove it, he could eventually be fined up to £20,000 under the Town and Country Planning Act.

Tony said: “I’ve had a notice of prosecution. If you are a commercial premises you can advertise anything but if you are a private premises you are restricted to a size of 2ft by 3ft.

“But this applies to hoardings – not something that is painted on the wall like mine is.

“Also my question is, what exactly am I meant to be advertising?”

Which brings us to the question of why, when there was such an outrage about the events in Paris last summer, are we facing an onslaught of rights, removal of freedoms of which must be defended. Much of the media, newspapers, the News in BBC is controlled by those who seek to control a population which outnumbers them, and in the UK, a government which does not have the majority support of a population, has power to change laws in a parliament which is supposed to serve the people.

Very adept at distraction policies, or scare-tactics, the BBC is neither, neutral politically, or independent, even though it still is respected by the belief in neutrality by many.  We have asked the question before, Who pulls the strings at the BBC? Now the Guardian reports how Tory officals threatened the BBC during the recent election.

Baldwin writes: “BBC executives and journalists have told me that there were regular, repeated threats from senior Tories during this election campaign about ‘what would happen afterwards’ if they did not fall into line.

He says: “It is a disturbing suggestion that a democratically elected government would seek to stamp on and silence dissent from an independent broadcaster.”

But he claims there “has been a long-standing campaign by the Conservative party, fueled by the commercial interests of sections of the press, to attack the world’s most successful state-funded public service broadcaster as a giant leftwing conspiracy”.

And so they hold power, while the scales of justice are so unbalanced they appear to have have a pivotal screw loose. Power could be easily toppled by exposure of truths and myths which has led to the imbalance of truth. The Tories are terrified at the idea of a collective knowledge of truth. Divide and rule, as always, is their aim. They overcomplicate issues leading to doubt and confusion.

This is why we must defend everyone’s  rights of expression through the Arts, the Internet, Blogs. Even if sometimes we don’t agree with them.

If we have a right of freedom of expression, then we also have a right to access information which our representatives are seeking to cover-up because of their own self interest. We are not talking about securing our safety, and protecting the vulnerable. Throughout history many have founght for our rights, from the Tolpuddle martyrs, to the suffragettes, to those who fought against Nazis in the 20th century.  This is not something to be cast away because Mr Gove has the power.

We must oppose the Conservative Government in their attempt to remove human rights.  Gove plans to scrap the policy of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 

The Human Rights Act is a piece of law, introduced in 1998, that guarantees human rights in Britain. It was introduced as one of the first major reforms of the last Labour government.

In practice, the Act has two main effects. Firstly, it incorporates the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic British law.

What this means is that if someone has a complaint under human rights law they do not have to go to European courts but can get justice from British courts.

Secondly, it requires all public bodies – not just the central government, but institutions like the police, NHS, and local councils – to abide by these human rights.

Which rights does the Act cover?

The Act covers all the rights included in the European Convention.

These rights are: Right to life, right not to be tortured or subjected to inhumane treatment, right not to be held as a slave, right to liberty and security of the person, right to a fair trial, right not be retrospectively convicted for a crime, right to a private and family life, right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of expression, right to freedom of assembly and association, right to marriage, right to an effective remedy, right not to be discriminated against, the right to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s property, and the right to an education.

The Act also imposes a duty upon governments to provide free and fair elections. 

38 Degrees Campaign to Save Human Rights Act:

If you haven’t already, please sign now. Link.

Trade treaties like TTIP are arranged in secret because those who will benefit from them are a very small minority, and exposure in the public domain would ensure they would be quashed. There is no wisdom in complacency of belief that in the UK because we are some distance from the incident in Bangladesh where a life was lost just because a man had an opinion, we are therefore safe.

The struggle for free speech, for free inquiry and for the liberty of atheism need not be a fight against religion, unless religion is opposed to human dignity. It is a struggle against cowardice and conformism, and against everyone who would crush both truth and imagination into a cramped coffin of orthodoxy.

Protection of rights, freedoms, and those whistleblowers who dare to speak out is tantamount in preserving the last chance for the voices of the people to be heard and shared – if indeed it is not too late for democracy to have a voice at all.

REFERENCES anad FURTHER READING

Owen Jones attacks the BBC’s pro-establishment bias

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Owen Jones on the BBC’s pro-establishment bias – Newsnight

A Very Public Sociologist writes – ‘Why the BBC news ignored the People’s Assembly March’

Content analysis shows its current affairs coverage dresses to the right.  My own number crunching of Question Time found there was a bias toward rightwing guests.  In this instance, is the BBC’s reportage, or lack, underscoring a straightforward Tory bias?  Well, it does speak of pronounced lean to, but the reasons aren’t as simple as one might suppose.  We’re going to have to grub around in the political economy of BBC news production once more.

Read the whole piece for a review of the BBC’s cognitive bias, what the establishment considers newsworthy and its institutional long term interests.  However, Phil concludes on this positive note:

…..That’s what it comes back to, the web of institutions, interests, and habits of mind the BBC are a constitutive part of.  Getting a feature is not the be all and end all of protesting.  Anti-austerity campaigns have been carrying on regardless since the Tories’ first round of cuts.  There’s no reason to believe that’s going to change.  However, the only way the BBC will report the anti-austerity message is by making it, if you pardon the ugly word, unignorable.  And come the TUC-backed march against austerity in the Autumn, we have every chance of making that happen.

 

Occupy……

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OCCUPY

In London, New York and Bangkok
Occupy is all the talk
London, New York and Belfast
Wall Street thought it wouldn’t last
The Politicians come and go
Yet we see the movement grow
These banker boys each sold their soul
Now Satan’s minion, is their role
With Ponzi schemes and pension fraud 
They’ve made the Euro, and the Dollar-god
These bankers crawl in self-made slime
Yet think, we see them, as sublime
When the starving masses rise
These idiots look up, in quaint surprise
As if they never, ever knew
Their devilish mix, their mammon brew
Would not bubble and burst, out of their hellish Ponzi pot
Where theft and graft, and greed were got
Right now the 99% do rise
And peacefully surprise
Obama, Blair, Cameron and cronies
Exposing them as Satan’s phonies
The British Bullshit Corporation  tell lies to the whole nation

We can vote X factors best
But starve our weans and damn the rest
We all believe that which we see
Cause it comes out the BBC
Yet it’s a hellish sewer
Shat in by Satan’s biggest whore
In her mouth she gobbles greed
Lies and deception, her biggest need
Then shits out war and poverty
Which then floats past for all to see
Along that sewer from the BBC
Where nothing is as it should be
There is One Truth, then there’s yours, then there’s mine
Until you starve, all things are fine
Till you’re against the wall
Then barriers will fall 
And you’ll begin to see
99% just aren’t free
And life and love is but a loss
Though you 1% should fear
ANON

‘Manufacturing Consent’

Currently, there are at least two shocking news stories which have been little represented on the BBC or in the national MSM.  One is the decision of two health trusts in Northern Ireland to entirely stop providing statutory residential care for the elderly.  The other is the House of Lords vote which failed to kill off the controversial section 75 of NHS competition regulations.

Martin Rowson depicts the reporting failure in his cartoon, described by cif commentator lightacandle:

BBC News Invisibility Cloak – on the Lords sell off of the NHS – yes they ignored that one completely – as usual. The Lords now being a vulture friend of fat cat, seeing as one in four have interests in private health too. And what fools are we to allow it to go on…

It also happens to be the 25th anniversary of the publication of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ which examined the role of the mainstream media: 

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Manufac_Consent_Prop_Model.html

The video clip below is an interview with Edward S. Herman (who co-authored the book with Noam Chomsky) which commemorates the anniversary.  Speaking a few days ago, Edward Herman says to The Real News:

“All the problems of the propaganda media model we talked about in the book have grown worse”.

In 1992, Edward Herman wrote in ‘Beyond Hypocrisy’:

Dissenters are excluded in the normal sourcing and processing of news, so that freedom of speech is perfectly compatible with systematic barriers to views that jar and threaten. Reporters are forced to work within the limits imposed by the market system in order to survive and prosper in the media organizations….

Despite these structural facts, it is frequently asserted and has become a conservative cliché that the mass media, especially network TV and the leading establishment dailies, are both “liberal” and “adversarial” to established authority.

That certainly echoes the Tory view of the BBC.  Furthermore, Herman proposed two laws; a ‘power law of access’ and an ‘inverse power law of truthfulness’ which are interrelated.

 The structure of power that shapes media choices and determines who gains access also affects truthfulness in the mass media.

Those who have assured access can lie; the more powerful they are, the more easily they can lie and the less likely it is that their lies will be corrected.

The higher the rank the more “credible” the statement; the more credible the speaker, the greater the freedom to lie.  

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/UnfreeInfo_Herman.html

 

Those who try to disprove the lies of the powerful have their limited access further reduced because their discordant messages would offend the powerful.  In any event, the messages of the weak and powerless can be largely ignored without cost to the mass media (whose biases would incline them toward avoidance anyway).

In his interview with The Real News, Edward Herman reiterates his view that ‘The media are simply part of the political force… lies are not contested.. the MSM does not allow alternative viewpoints .. We need a democratic order where the public’s interest feeds into the media.’  He considers that new media like The Real News show potential, but still believes that funding is needed for more investigative journalism.

Who on the left would disagree?

“Manufacturing Consent” 25 Years Later

TheRealNews·

Published on Apr 19, 2013