BBC struggles with press freedom in Charlie Hebdo aftermath


BBC’s own guidelines on the use of religious icons in any of their content restricts the use of any iconography or graphics that may be interpreted as the Prophet Mohammed, while not having this limitation on any other religion.

The BBC has clarified its guidelines on the depiction of Mohammed, god’s last prophet according to Islamic theology.

The old guidelines were tweeted out by the BBC Question Time Twitter feed after they were read out loud on the show by host David Dimbleby last Thursday (January 8).

The guidelines read: “Due care and consideration must be made regarding the use of religious symbols in images which may cause offence.

“The Prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form”.

That page was available at the time it was tweeted, but has since been removed from the web and the BBC has issued a clarification

“This guidance is old, out of date and does not reflect the BBC’s long-standing position that programme makers have freedom to exercise their editorial judgement with the Editorial Policy team available to provide advice around sensitive issues on a case-by-case basis,” the statement read.

“The guidance is currently being revised.”

It is fair to say that the BBC is at sixes and sevens between showing solidarity with journalism in general, freedom of the press, and not inviting armed conflict towards any of its staff or affiliates.

It will be interesting to see what the revised ‘guidelines’ will say.

One thing is for sure:  if free speech can get you killed, and therefore you are scared to exercise it, you are not living in a free society.

When reporting, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  What you can guarantee is that you will upset some of the people most of the time.

We should be free to do so without the invisible threat of violence preventing us from speaking what is on our mind.

It’s nearly impossible to see a way out of this without some people taking a step back.  Of course there is no need to constantly and deliberately upset Muslims, just like there is no need to do so to any other group, individual or religion.    But the point remains that we should be free to do so if we wish.

The appropriate response is a non-violent one.   The people of Islam that take up arms to shoot us, or behead us, or capture us and keep us hostage don’t agree.

There really is no ground for compromise there.  Either we stop depicting Mumhammed, or they stop killing people for doing so.   Both stances are huge compromises to the people concerned.

The only clear solution is that there are parts of the world where Muslims have created their own societies that run according to their own rules.   Perhaps Muslims who can not live in a western democracy without being compelled to act violently against their neighbours should consider moving to countries where people see things the way they do.

Governments must review their immigration policies when it comes to Muslims joining a secular largely non-Islamic society.  Europe has clearly shown what can happen.  Let’s not allow this to develop here.


– BBC, via Throng


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  • Jimmie

    Cant argue with you Cam. There is plenty of space in Muslim countries in the ME, Africa, and Asia to take all of them.

    If a westerner lives in a Muslim country they are expected to adapt to and respect Muslim laws and customs…… should be a concept that goes both ways but doesnt.

    • Richard Holden

      Therein lies the rub

    • dgrogan

      Not to mention the poll tax (Jizyah) levied on all non-believers.

  • Murray Smith

    A lot of crocodiles sit under the bridge that spans between the two camps. My guess is that many will fall into their jaws , before either side relocates.
    The BBC is trying to install anti jump rails, perhaps.

    • shykiwibloke

      A line from Dire Straights comes to mind:
      “Sitting on the fence is a dangerous course. You can even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force”
      “Once upon a time in the west” by Dire Straights.

  • Whafe

    Seems to me, all of these MSM outlets are awaiting for anyone but themselves to make the first move in regards to what they see as being offensive to Muslims, Islam etc.
    Once one MSM outlet does it, the rest will follow.
    Again, in true leadership, the global lead MSM media outlets should have all worked together in solidarity and all put last weeks cartoon on the respective front pages, the world would be having a different conversation this week. Rather than wasting time in spending time as “Apologists” (which incidently is a dam awful word and group of people, the left are full of them)

    • OneTrack

      They prefer being apologists.

      • Albert Lane

        They’re scared.

    • shykiwibloke

      Those that signed the US declaration of independence knew they were signing their own death warrants if things had turned out differently in the following days.
      THAT is the sort of leadership the MSM need to show. The first ‘news outlet’ to do so will sweep the floor with the rest. Note the french socialistic satire magazine is printing an additional million copies. What would the owners of the Horrid, The Sydney Morning Herald or any other paper in our part of the world do for an increase in circulation of that magnatude?
      Stand up for something worthwhile? Make money for being principled?
      No – I thought not.

  • andrew carrot

    David Fisher’s a top notch investigative reporter, who’s not afraid to protect our right to free-speech and open debate; maybe it’s time for him to do a no-holds-barred opinion piece on mohammedan politics. Nah, can’t see it happening…

    • Albert Lane

      To do a no-holds-barred opinion piece would be impossible, as whatever he says will cause offence to one side or the other. His safety and that of his family would be jeopardised. And that’s the definition of Islamic free speech. It only has two words – Allah akhbar, as they take their revenge.

  • steve and monique

    Stop Muslim immigration – NOW!

  • Albert Root

    More a case that there was a lot more pink on the map in your grandparents’ day. Even then GB was always fighting a war against the ottomans and their relations.

  • Isherman

    “Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
    ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
    – George R. R Martin,A Game of Thrones.

    Sums the situation up nicely I think.

  • cows4me

    I wonder what Winston Churchill would have thought about the modern day BBC. Tens of thousands have fought and died in the name of freedom and part of that freedom was the right, no, the obligation to call evil for what evil is. The BBC is a sickly liberal outfit scared of it’s own shadow. They are a disgrace.

    • OneTrack

      Chamberlain would be proud of them.

      • Albert Lane

        Lord Haw Haw would be even more proud of them. He was a Nazi propagandist in WW2 whose job it was to demoralise the British by broadcasting lies and hatreds. The BBC used to be the best network in the world, as it broadcast the truth. Now it’s been taken over by PC leftists, it’s not worth watching or listening to.

  • HunuaRanger

    A more intensive background check with a change to the immigration laws so certain immigrants are presumed “hostile” and the burden of proof is on them to prove themselves “friendly” to our society, would go a long way to help curb this problem.

    If these measures were put in place and officials actually listened to their advisers, we also wouldn’t have had the likes of KDC, Donghua Liu, et al. in the country either.

    Even the ASIO were given warnings by the Iranians about Man Haron Monis and they didn’t listen closely enough.

    Politics and politicians should not be allowed to influence the immigration of undesirable elements into New Zealand, Keep it with the professionals with the judiciary to oversee any appeals, rather than a Investment bribe that wipes away past sins.

  • shykiwibloke

    Which Muslem countries are actually peaceful? Trouble in Middle East. Trouble in North Africa. Trouble in the Islamic states of France, England, Nederlands……

    • Yes, but once they kill all the non-believers, life will be all sweetness and light and a state of nirvana will exist for all.
      Allahu Akbar ….. (Cue flying Pigs and Tui Billboard …)

  • We see gangs as a threat to our society. So we have laws to stop gangs associating.
    Isn’t Islam a similar or worse threat? Then why can’t we have similar laws for them?

  • What was the BBC’s position during the Irish ‘Troubles’? Similar? I doubt it!

    This is a tipping point. If any good has come out of the slaughter in Paris it is that Islam has probably dealt itself a fatal blow. It is time to root out this evil that affects us all.

    • Albert Lane

      Not if you heard Sean Plunket on Radio Live this morning. The islamic terrorists were not islamic terrorists, according to him. They were simply “nutters” who had nothing to do with islam. Is this guy out of touch with reality? He’s not very well-informed either. He didn’t know the Chief of Police in Paris had committed suicide, when that was made public yesterday. He thinks there are two illegal fishing ships in the Antarctic. There are three. And he made quite nasty and undeserved insults towards Cam this morning as well. What’s up with this drongo? Is he looking for John Campbell’s job?

  • twr

    “Of course there is no need to constantly and deliberately upset Muslims, just like there is no need to do so to any other group, individual or religion.” Except Kim Dotcom, surely? He’s earned an exception.

  • Effluent

    The question is, which aspect of secular western life will they next take as an unacceptable affront to their delicate sensibility, warranting murder?
    Having given way on this point, how will we be able to say that we cannot do so with each successive demand for greater and greater privilege for Islam over all other belief systems, until we end up in dhimmitude?