Monday, December 21, 2009

'Should homosexuals face execution?'

is a question posted on the BBC website and addressed to BBC frequenters.


Here is how Philip Hensher responded:


On Friday morning, I amused myself by telephoning the BBC licence authorities. "I understand that my licence is up for renewal," I said to a lady called Emma, who it is fair to say did not have this one on her sheet of prepared answers. "Could you explain to me why I should pay an organisation for discussing whether I should be killed or not?" "Erm – I don't think I know about this," Emma said. "But you're paying for the signal, not for what the BBC does with it." "So if the BBC decided to mount a discussion programme discussing whether Jews should be put to death or not, I wouldn't be paying for that, either?" "Well," Emma said. "There's a small blue button at the bottom of the webpage. You could put in a complaint about that." "But naturally I object to it," I said. "The question is whether I should go on giving the BBC my money."

Norm has already made the point that

"A commitment to free speech doesn't require a liberal newspaper to give space to racist opinions, or a blog of any stripe to give space to the view that terrorism isn't so bad. It does involve not trying to shut people up just because you don't like what they say; but you have no obligation to help them say it, to give them a platform from which to state their view.

Equally, no provider of a forum for debate is obliged by the commitment to free speech to pose questions as if they invited either a yes or no answer when one of these two answers calls for the violation of some fundamental right. You have only to imagine the BBC hosting a discussion of the questions, 'Should rape be legalized?' and 'Should adultery be punished by stoning to death?'

From my own blogosphere experience, I can point to a few examples where outrageous positions are articulated which are in direct opposition to fundamental universal rights. Here are a couple of them:

Here:

The fact that it ["aparteheid wall"] stops suicide bombers is irrelevant if it's built on the wrong piece of land.


In other words, as long as some Palestinian farmers can get to their fields in 10 minutes instead of two hours, the fact that Israeli kids get shredded to pieces, occasionally, as they take the bus to go to school is not even an issue.

Or here:

At least we have a religion [Islam] that banned slavery in all forms 14 centuries ago for those who are educated enough to know.

In other words, those who are not "educated enough to know better" do not come under the umbrella of security to be free from slavery provided for those who are "educated enough to know better".

I can only guess that to be ""educated enough to know better" means to submit yourself to the teachings of Islam. That is to say, that unless you are a Muslim, you have no human rights. And even Muslims who happen to transgress Islamic law, are not protected by these fhundamental human rights, to life, or freedom from persecution or slavery.

One wonders what the BBC is doing in such company.

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