[Updated] The BBC defends the mullahs, silences their critics
By OPHELIA BENSON - BUTTERFLIES & WHEELS
Updated: Mon, 06 Sep 2010 11:50:49 UTC
EDIT BY RD.NET: We now have the video clip of the section on the Sunday Morning Live programme. You can download it here. Or view below. Note that, before getting on to the Iranian matter, the clip begins with a very brief visit to Stephen Hawking's recent pronouncement. It seemed worth leaving that in here, partly to give a foretaste of the kind of person we are dealing with in Aric Sigman, who plays a prominent role in the discussion that follows. For a good take-down of him, by the way, see the excellent Ben Goldacre here.
The BBC has outdone itself this time. BBC1's Sunday Live did a programme on whether it is right to condemn the Iranian regime for the stoning of Ashtiani. Maryam Namazie was supposed to take part (and it is not difficult to guess what she would have said, and how firmly she would have said it), but somehow the programme never got around to her. It did get around to two people who said the other thing, but it did not get around to Maryam. Yes that’s right. It found the time to talk to two apologists for the fascist reactionary mullahs’ regime in Iran but it could not find the time to talk to a secular feminist who thinks women shouldn’t be buried up to their necks and stoned to death for anything and especially not for “adultery.”
The BBC gives a voice to fascist reactionary mullahs and denies a voice to secular feminists who defend human rights.
In the live debate, they managed to interview Suhaib Hassan from the Islamic Sharia Council defending stoning and someone from Tehran saying she faces execution for murdering her husband but somehow there was no time in the debate for me.
Even the presenter, Susanna Reid, said stonings were rare and that none had taken place since the 2002 moratorium! In fact 17 people have been stoned since the moratorium; also there are court documents provided by her lawyer specifying her stoning sentence for adultery. BBC had all this information. Without providing evidence to the contrary, BBC Sunday Live took as fact the regime’s pronouncements on her case. They failed to mention that the man charged with her husband’s murder is not being executed and that the trumped up murder charges are an attempt by the regime to silence the public outcry and kill Sakineh. As Sakineh herself has said: “they think they can do anything to women.”
It beggars belief.
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An ITV spokesman said: “We often make changes to programmes before transmission and on this occasion we felt that the song didn’t quite work editorially.”
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