Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Criminalising speech and media censorship

Last week Tommy Robinson was arrested outside Leeds Crown Court on suspicion that that he was likely to cause a breach of the peace. He has now been sentenced to thirteen months' imprisonment; not for breach of peace, but for contempt of court. Robinson's "crime" consisted of his attempts to draw attention to gangs of Muslims sexually exploiting girls - a fact that has been repeatedly established by the courts and independent inquiries, but is systematically minimised by the media and generally ignored by the political elite. The court, not only sentenced Robinson for his exercise of his right to freedom of speech, it also imposed a ban on reporting.

The silencing of Tommy Robinson and the censorship of the media is an outrage. If this were happening in another country, Russia for instance, the British political media elite would be jumping up and down with moral indignation and using the case as proof that Russia is a dictatorship that does not respect fundamental human rights and the rule of law. They would be using the case as a justification for sanctions against Russia.

A petition demanding the release of Tommy Robinson reportedly (Sputnik) gathered four hundred thousand signatures on its first day. However, currently (three days later) the petition has zero signatures. The deletion of all those signatures can only be seen as evidence of a concerted campaign to suppress all dissent on this issue.

All laws against freedom of speech are contrary to the fundamental human right to freedom of expression. The only reasonable exception to this assertion is incitement to violence, but even there it should be very narrowly interpreted. However, there is no suggestion that Robinson was inciting violence. All he was doing was acting as a citizen journalist, standing outside a court and attempting to report what the case before the court was about. There is nothing even remotely criminal about this behaviour. Yet he was immediately arrested on an obviously trumped up charge and was within hours found guilty of a completely different "crime" and sentenced to prison. Critics of the British regime should realise that they are confronted by a Stalinist dictatorship, which will not tolerate any dissent from its ideology.

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