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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Being gagged

I pulled this post as it appeared that the information communicated to me was incorrect. I then made some comments based on a misunderstanding, but I'm not too big to correct it. The threat of legal action was based on a confusion between comments made yesterday and last Friday, but the substance of the comments was as I indicated in the original post.

The programme was pulled due to the nature of the mostly anonymous calls being received by the volunteers at Isles FM. The Managing Director of Isles FM, Ann Moqbel, said, "Isles FM is a community station which wants to reflect all points of view and be a vehicle for that. There were many calls to the station which were aggressive and nasty to our volunteers. Some were anonymous. I will not have our volunteers intimidated in that way. We hope to have the pundits back on Friday."

It is clear that someone somewhere is running a nasty political operation. Whether it is the SNP or Labour pretending to be SNP supporters to discredit them, I don't know, but it is certainly very aggressive. There is a decidedly nasty streak running through some of the postings on some local internet forums (fora?) which seems to be more interested in gagging those with certain views, rather than debating points.

I have let virtually every posting onto this blog (one was cut to the an inappropriate link), insulting or otherwise, and I will continue in the same vein.

Gagging dissidents is never a good idea. It is better to defeat their arguments. That is democracy.


The original posting from last night is below:
I was supposed to being on Isles FM tonight as a "pundit" discussing the election campaigns. Because I was not standing again, I am totally free to speak without any right of reply, as is my colleague Callum Ian MacMillan - the former Labour Group Leader on the Comhairle.

About two hours before the programme was to go on air, I discovered that the SNP had threatened to take out an injunction to prevent the programme taking place on the grounds of "bias". Now this is true, really true, but apparently I was unacceptable, the journalist who was chairing the programme was unacceptable, but the former Labour Group Leader was acceptable. Yes, read that again. And again!

Sorry, but the brave new Scotland does not need censorship, a restriction on the right of free speech, or commentators who are obliged to toe a particular line.

Is this what the SNP represents? If so, count me out. I've publicly advocated voting SNP on the list (but not the constituency) for well known reasons. This behaviour crosses the boundary between democracy and dictatorship as far as I am concerned, and I hope it is totally, completely, and utterly withdrawn immediately or I will not be able to tell anyone to vote SNP anywhere.

9 comments:

machaseo said...

That's a tricky one. I don't like censorship either, but is the SNP's action (if true) really 'censorship'? Would you have been unbiased or would you have had a deep hard dig at a certain party that's just booted you out? Why not just go ahead anyway? If Isles FM can get away with "f***ing wedding dresses" from Murdo Maclean's, surely an SNP injunction is peanuts by comparison...

I think the last sentence in your post is completely over the top and weakens your already thin argument further.

Personally I wish you'd bury the hatchet with the local SNP (preferably not in AA's or ABM's head). This island has gone through enough in the last five years without all this infighting going on. I see a glimmer of light on the horizon in the shape of the SNP. Things need to change here. Let's face it Angus, the root of your troubles with the SNP and the majority of the population of Lewis is windfarms, innit?

Interesting that that word 'journalist' came up again...

machaseo said...

There is an interesting article in the Press & Journal (" POLICE LOOK INTO SNP CLAIMS OF DIRTY TRICKS ", 11th April) which again raises the question: who is the 'council official' who spilled the (non) story at such a politically opportune time?

Come to think of it, it also raises the question of whether the events themselves had any negative effect whatsoever on the young ladies concerned, as not a peep was heard out of them in the last two years, until 'journalists' got to them?

I can understand their being devastated by the way they have been used (and I mean USED) for political advantage at their and their families' expense, but do they actualy have any complaint at all regarding the events of that night, or is the complaining all down to the Sunday Mail? That is a rhetorical question, surely.

Politics is a dirty business, after all...

Anonymous said...

Nasty though it is, I can assure you that non of the politican campaigners can hold a candle to the vitriol spouted by anti-Tesco campaigners enraged that someone dares openly consider shopping there. If I'd mass-murdered their families I feel it would be more acceptable to some of them over buying my favourite pizza from there.

machaseo said...

Thanks for the clarification Angus.

Disturbing about these calls to isles FM - there's no justification for nasty phone calls etc whichever 'side' one is on.

For myself, I am an ex-Labour now SNP supporter, getting a little bewildered at the turn of events in this election race. Apologies if I have sometimes become a bit hot under the collar myself, but I can claim a little bit of provocation by a certain anonymous contributor for whom debate really does seem to be a one-way street on a certain subject.

Angus said...

I flew a bit off the handle too, so it is a common problem.

Trying to be objective, there are a lot of dirty tricks going on by everyone, and I'm looking past the obvious.

Some people are pretending to support X, whilst damning with faint praise or deliberately overdoing their support. Not pretty, but entertaining to see other bite.

Anonymous said...

Slightly baffled and annoyed by Isles FM. There's no need for themselves to deal with anonymous calls. All they have to do is put caller display in, and only take calls for where there is a number visible. Would have been really interesting to see where the phone numbers wrt the debate were coming from.

I'm surprised they don't seem to(?) operate such a system, as this would also cut down on malicious callers getting onto the air.

As they are volunteer staff, and from the pictures on their website in some cases young and probably not experienced in hurly-burly of media life, it's really unfair on them to have to deal with this.

Anonymous said...

yes machaseo and we all know whos head you would like to bury it in!

machaseo said...

Beep! Beep! Troll alert!

Anonymous said...

"It is clear that someone somewhere is running a nasty political operation."

I can't quite believe you had a straight face when you wrote this, Angus.