Warrington-Worldwide.co.uk incorporates the Village Life, Culcheth Life, Frodsham Life & Lymm Life magazines.

Freedom of Speech v Promoting Hatred!

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It is always a tricky decision deciding on whether to give extremists who openly promote hatred air time when you believe in freedom of speech!

A fairly well known far right extremist was in Warrington this week endeavouring and sadly succeeding , in getting his face in the media while the BBC’s Question Time was in town.

I made the tough decision to stay away – as a reporter I am meant to be impartial but as a Patron of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace I would struggle to keep my views to myself.

So as an Editor I made an editorial decision not to cover this news item.

Millions have died for the right for free speech – while those who crave media attention to promote their extreme and often evil inhumane views, continue to divide and terrorise our world.

We as a country have become more divided than ever, while terrorism continues to impact on our daily lives.

Perhaps the time has come to question whether some people are entitled to spout their words of hatred?

Extremists were challenged and dealt with long before mobile phones, the internet, tv, radio and even newspapers ever existed – anyone who wants to challenge this individual can do so directly through his own social platforms or on his own doorstep without the need of giving the media exposure he craves.

I later saw on social media violence break out on the streets of Warrington due to the attention given to this issue – how does challenging this individual in the public limelight help anyone?

Without attention he will either crawl back under his rock or eventually resort to something which will hopefully have him locked up for a very long time!

To think this all happened on almost the exact spot where two local boys tragically died due to an act of terrorism 26 years ago makes by stomach churn. Despite all the great work done in Warrington over the years promoting peace and reconciliation, we still have to endure these acts of terror involving people who have nothing to do with our town.

It is a fine balancing act working in the media in a responsible way and I am sure there will be many times ahead when I decide to publish details about some meaningless excuse for a human being – but for this one I decided to give him a miss so I could spend time with my granddaughter on her third birthday- a much more pleasurable and meaningful experience!

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

9 Comments

    • I commend Gary on this decision as I don’t agree with some of the other comments – this man is deliberately staging events to seek publicity and to spread division and hate.

      He carried out his act here in Warrington at almost the exact site that the IRA bomber the town. I also condemned the acts of the young Asian man from Blackburn who threw milkshake in his face. That attracts the publicity that we don’t need. It creates an us and them and we have to starve him of the publicity for his stunts because that is exactly what it was – it was stage-managed and it was deliberate and if you were taken in by it, then so be it.

      We are trying to encourage journalists to report on all matters of Hate and terrorism in a responsible way and Gary’s decision not to report this is a brave one and commendable because it means that many people don’t get to know about this person and his hideous views. I support Gary.

      • The problem with people like Tommy Robinson is they like the idea of having their speech denied. Far better to let him speak and then argue his point than close him down and assault him. The only time speech should be denied to clowns like this is when they are actually threatening people. This does not include saying stupid or disagreeable things or anything else somebody doesn’t like.

        As for the guy with the milkshake and all the others applauding him, if you want this to be the standard of public discourse and find it happening to people with whom you agree, clap away because it will be coming back to you soon.

  1. As a responsible journalist, it is your role to report the news. He had a twenty foot tall video screen on the back of a lorry blocking half of Bridge St. He was here harrassing a number of people. You could have recorded events. It would have been a witness to the mindless thuggery of some of his people. A young woman with a broken nose by one of his thugs – another lad punched and unconscious. Handing out leaflets of hate.
    The problem is that he isn’t going away. Hitler rose to power by getting his publications and leaflets out. We are living in a world of the media Gary and you are a key player at least in this town. The BNP ran numerous campaigns and got major publicity – it was the role of the press to expose him so that people realised what they were. Same with Stephen Yaxley Lennon – AKA Tommy Robinson. Unless the media say something – he will say something. We have and ongoing issue now that UKIP are semi officially endorsing him he has semi legitimacy as an advisors for them. He has already national coverage and notoriety. His views need challenged. I challenge Warrington Worldwide to be up to the task. We already had members of a banned nazi organisation in this very town. People of Warrington have a right to know exactly the type of character he is.

    • There was a bit more to Hitler’s rise to power than the ability to hand out leaflets.

      There are plenty of people willing and able to challenge his views. But what I think you’re suggesting is that he should not be allowed to express them at all, in which case I disagree. The suppression of thought and opinion is the hallmark of tyranny, including the Nazis.

      • Everyone is entitled to free speech but the media also have the choice on whether it is in the public interest to report it. On this occasion, knowing full well there was a media circus and plenty of people with mobile phones recording the events, I made the decision to stay away.

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