Many of you may have seen last night's 'Immigration is a time bomb'
programme by Rod Liddle. For those who haven't seen it, here are some of its
1) Rod Liddle opened by saying the views stated in the programme will not be politically correct.
2) He used the phrase 'illegal asylum seeker' which the Press Complaints Commission issued guidance on to journalists, as it breaches its code of practice and leads to misleading or distorted terminology.
3) He interviewed the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, who is being investigated for incitement to racial hatred, and who has already received a two year suspended sentence for this offence in 1998. The BNP website praises the programme, calls for more such programming and for Channel 4 to 'go all the way' stating Liddle has not gone as far as Enoch Powell and the BNP are right! Liddle also stated that Griffin should not have been arrested for stating his views.
4) The hour long programme presents as fact, myths perpetrated by the Tories and subsequently endorsed by the BNP, sensationalising the figures on population growth: 5 million more immigrants = 5 Birminghams = 10 Sheffields etc...
5) Someone interviewed says, before 'mass immigration', the problem of HIV/AIDS only (it is implied exclusively) affected drug users and gay men. The rise of heterosexual infections is blamed on immigration, in particular from Africa.
6) Islam is caricatured and presented as a homophobic, intolerant faith, that inspires murders of the 'defenders of freedom of speech', such as Theo Van Gogh. His death is attributed to the fact that Holland paid the price for 'allowing immigrants to do what the hell they wanted'. This was accompanied by pictures of Muslim women in hijab, shopping in a market place.
This was one of the worse pieces of racist, populist programming that have been broadcast on this issue. Please register a strong complaint to Channel 4 on this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and to OFCOM via http://www.ofcom.org.uk/contact_ofcom/tv_radio_concern, because it was broadcast.
Below is a text of a complaint already sent in. Please do not send
the same text, this is only to give you some ideas on what can be said.
'This programme was far from the 'controversial' counterpoint to Kenan Malik's 'Let 'Em All In'. It was deeply offensive and grossly inaccurate, and pandered to all the worst and ill-formed prejudices around race. To broadcast a programme that made such unfounded claims about immigration to this country is a highly irresponsible act.
'From the appalling claims made by Liddle about immigrants bringing disease to this country, to the ridiculous suggestion that overcrowding on the public transport system is somehow down to immigration, the programme was full of patent lies that could quite easily have been cut and pasted from the website of the British National Party.
'The programme's treatment of British Muslims was particularly offensive. Islam is a religion as heterogeneous as any other, yet Liddle's generalizations caricatured the faith as unremittingly dogmatic and oppressive, and incompatible with the 'basic values of Britishness'. To argue that Islam has 'little time for democracy, freedom of conscience and equality' is patently untrue, and a slander on the faith. At one point in the programme, Liddle spoke about terrorism while we were shown pictures of ordinary women with headscarves (presumably Muslim) doing their shopping! At a time when Islamophobia is on the rise, and attacks against Muslims growing in frequency, this programme serves as nothing more than an incitement to religious hatred.
'Lastly, it is quite unforgivable of Channel 4 to broadcast an interview with Nick Griffin of the BNP, and allowing him to argue, without once being challenged, for 'freedom of speech'. the BNP are a fascist party, and freedom of speech is the last thing one can associate with them. A general election is in the offing, and to allow Griffin -- a man, lest we forget, who was only three months ago arrested on suspicion of incitement to commit racial hatred -- to be associated with such a programme is again highly irresponsible of the channel.
'"Immigration is a Time Bomb" is not a contribution to a healthy public debate about race, immigration and multiculturalism; it is a dreadful piece of populist racism, for which Channel Four should seriously consider issuing an apology.'
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