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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Fear of Flying

I have to admit that I did not watch Jerry Springer - The Opera last night. That is not because I disapproved (I didn't - I was indifferent!) but rather because I exercised my right to choose and went to the cinema to see The Aviator instead.

It does seem to me that this was the right response of anybody who might have objected to the content of the show. I have said before on this blog "The other side of religious freedom..... is freedom of speech. If people have the right to worship without persecution or restriction, as they should do, then they must accept that other people have an equal right to comment on their beliefs and even cause offence if that is their wish."

I do not accept the argument that the BBC should play it safe and always keep on 'the right side of decency' with an endless parade of 'family shows'. Its duty is to entertain, to inform and to accommodate minority interests. That is why they have a watershed. That is why there are remote controls, off-buttons and alternative venues for entertainment such as cinema. Those who were protesting against this show had no wish to watch it. That is fine. But it does not give them the right to stop others seeing it.

Of course I accept that they have a right to protest and it seems that many thousands did so. The exact numbers of protests however seem as elusive as the number of swearwords in the show. In his blog, Nick Barlow draws attention to the fact that all e-mails to the BBC, whether for or against, seem to have been classified as protests. So even in the midst of the storm created by the screening of this show, the truth appears to have been a major casualty.

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