Media and Communications

Freedom of Speech, Violent Fascism, Democracy, Nick Griffin and Mahinda Rajapakse

A milestone in British democracy and the right to freedom of speech happens on BBC’s Question Time program tonight. Nick Griffin the head of the BNP (British National Party), which allows only white members, will headline tonight. BBC defends it’s decision on responsibility of due impartiality.

The BBC trust says it is a question of editorial judgement whether it is appropriate for the BNP to appear.

As a recent Asian migrant to this country I am alarmed. Is violent fascism preached by the BNP now part of the mainstream? Like me, how will the other Asian, African, and West Indian descent citizens of the United Kingdom feel? Or the East Europeans and South Africans?

A clear increase in racial attacks is seen when the BNP speak or get elected.

Migrants contribute positively in the UK. A clear example which both has mass appeal and ease of comprehension is one fact where the current England cricket captain, their best batsmen by far, and the wicketkeeper are all of South African origin!

Or is it OK as they are all white? Then is it simply white skin versus black skin?

I believe that any publicity is publicity. The BNP already have up to one million voters in UK.

The BBC says the BNP should be treated as if it were a democratic party. But there is nothing democratic about the BNP. It is a fascist organisation dedicated to kicking every single black and Asian person out of this country.

Some people say you can debate the BNP. But Griffin himself wrote: “When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.” Griffin isn’t interested in impressing people with his arguments – he just wants to build the BNP by using Question Time as a platform to whip up race hatred and bigotry.

Which leads me to ponder about my country of origin Sri Lanka. When people alike Nick Griffin and the BNP party have the right to freedom of speech and exist as a political party, does the west have double standards when measuring the yardsticks of democracy in the rest of the world?

We too have our differences and political parties with race or religion specific agenda’s. Of course if a media organisation in Sri Lanka attempted an exercise in ‘freedom of speech’ without government sanction the repercussions would and will be very different.

But I wonder, seriously, where can one draw the line when it comes to democracy or freedom of speech. Is there one and then who sets it?

People we elect democratically through ballot? Nick Griffin is not in power, Mahinda Rajapakse is. To act responsibly with democratic freedom for a country’s people versus winning an election, winning ballots must weigh heavily.

I hear the clarion call again. ARE YOU WITH US OR AGAINST US?

My right to freedom and democracy is threatened anywhere I live in this world. I am genuinely in fear.