Published date01 October 1985
Date01 October 1985
Subject MatterCommentary
Publicity for Terrorists
The recent controversy over alleged Government interference in the
running of the B.B.C. with the chilling spectre of official censorship,
must have come as a
to the I.R.A. at a time when it was
licking its wounds after amajor reverse in the bombing campaign.
The question of who has the final say, the Governors or the
Director General, is less important than deciding where the
responsibility lies for determining day-to-day programme topics.
The apparent desire on the part of some producers to give a
platform to those who espouse indiscriminate violence as a means
to achieve political ends (and of course, we are not saying that this
particular producer or programme which we have not seen, sought
to do so) must call into question the adequacy of programme
control and give credulity to the Government when it raises a
commendably rare question mark. Indeed, the absence of such a
query could well have been criticized by parties unfavourably
disposed towards the Government.
The staggering hypocrisy displayed by many in support of the
principle of media freedom served only to deepen the suspicion that
real power lies at a much lower level on the hierarchical scale.
would seem that the principle is interpreted as protecting decisions
the floor" against any over-ruling, whether Government
inspired or not: if such is the case the prospect of imposed
censorship appears much less distasteful, despite its authoritarian
The media in this country operate on a very loose rein and for the
pursue their respective courses responsibly in a
determined effort to protect individual rights and liberties against
is rightly said
freedom of speech is the corner-stone of
democracy. Nevertheless,
press and T.V. have a clear duty to
oppose the enemies of democracy and, in so doing, to express
unequivocally their utter condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.
serves no purpose, except to blur important issues, to give even a
semblance of credence to anyone who supports such infamies as the
October 1985 279

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