Opposed to racism and fascism, to hold rally
19th February 2010: Media workers and students opposed to racism and fascism have join hands to “Expose the BNP”. The campaign aims at revealing the “undemocratic and racist nature of the British National Party”.
The launch rally on 23rd February 2010 is expected to see eminent speakers including columnist and broadcaster Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, senior editor (politics) with New Statesman Mehdi Hasan, editor with Liberal Conspiracy blog Sunny Hundal, MP Peter Hain, deputy general secretary of National Union of Journalists Michelle Stanistreet.
The rally at 7pm will be held at Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EA
Backing the campaign, political correspondent for the New Statesman James Macintyre said: The political and media consensus appears to be that the way to tackle the BNP is to meet it half way, by talking up tough anti-immigration measures and airing this racist party’s lies. This conventional wisdom must urgently be challenged.
Free speech should not come at the price of incitement to racial and religious hatred by a band of convicted criminals, Holocaust deniers and petty thugs.
The new campaign aims to investigate and challenge the BNP’s attempts to construct a respectable public image, and to support media workers who refuse to work on programmes or material that break the reporting guidelines laid down by media trade unions.
Deputy general secretary of the National Union of Journalists Michelle Stanistreet said: Journalists have a duty to hold up to the closest scrutiny the claims and activities of those who would foment racial tension and violence. The BNP’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigration cannot be taken at face value.
Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of Bectu, the media and entertainment union, said: The BNP is not a legitimate political party. Its policies are directly opposed to the democratic principles which underpin our multi-cultural society and those policies should not be given airtime.
Peter Hain said: It is vital that journalists take a robust approach to the BNP. It was an outrage that the BBC gave the fascist, racist BNP the credibility they craved by inviting Nick Griffin onto Question Time. In the event, it became a shameful circus that boosted the far right party, and short-term BBC ratings.
An official press release said: The vast majority of those who work in the media are opposed to the BNP’s divisive politics, which are based on hate and violence.
In the run up to the general election and beyond, “EXPOSE” will provide well-researched information and background briefings for reporters, news editors and others in the industry in order to challenge the BNP’s statements and spokespersons, and the racism and criminality at the heart of their organisation.