Archive for December 6th, 2007

06
Dec
07

Time for a media black-out on gun massacres?

We’re off air now, but you can podcast the programme here

Welcome to Francisco, who becomes the first Chilean on the Daily Email list.

It’s looking likely that tomorrow’s show may include a health check on the influence and popularity of Christianity. Prompted by a number stories – Mitt Romney explaining his Mormon faith in the States today, a judge ruling that broadcasters in the UK can’t face prosecution for blasphemy yesterday being two. If you’d like to tell us about the power and influence of Christianity in your country, let me know.

I WANT TO BE FAMOUS – SHOULD THE MEDIA STOP HELPING?

Robert Hawkins predicted in his suicide note that he’d be famous once he carried out his plan, and he was right. Yesterday, he killed eight people and himself in a Nebraska shopping mall and today his face and name is featured on thousands of TV stations, websites and newspapers.Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in April. He too was confident the media would play its part. Between his two attacks he sent a video to a major US network and days later we all watched him.

Is it time the media took a collective decision to report such massacres with only the bare facts? No pictures, no suicide note, no videos, in the public domain. No live reports from the scene and no blanket coverage? Could it work? Should it be done?

WHERE YOU ARE IN AMERICA

I wasn’t sure if this would be of interest or not, but just in case it is, here’s the list of all the US states where we have subscribers to this email. Thanks to all of you who helped me put this together.

New York, Oregon, California, Tennessee, North Carolina, Montana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Washington DC, New Jersey, Utah, Illinois, Michigan

SUNSHINE IN IRAQ

Mark (WHYS supremo) was showing me this blog from Iraq. It’s well worth you reading if you’ve time. Speak to you later.

06
Dec
07

The end for blasphemy?

Good morning, or afternoon or night, wherever and whenever you’re reading this. It’s Peter here back at World Have Your Say after six months working in the BBC Washington bureau. It was bad to leave there but it’s good to be back on WHYS and talking to you all again.

First up this morning is yesterday’s ruling in Britain that broadcasters and theatres staging live productions could not be prosecuted for blasphemy. The Daily Mail sums it up with this headline: We have a human right to blasphemy. And if broadcasters are exempt then how can anyone be convicted for blasphemy?

The case was brought by a Christian group against the BBC’s director general over the screening of Jerry Springer – The Opera in 2005. But is this ruling merely an example of Christianity’s weakness? Had it been another religion involved in the controversy would the screening have gone ahead? In 2004 protests by Sikhs in Birmingham led to a play being cancelled. Are different religions treated differently in society and under the law?

Also in Britain, a top policeman has been banned from driving for six weeks after admitting speeding – at 90mph in a 60mph zone. He was previously the chairman of traffic policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers. He admits “a significant breach of road traffic law” but what would he have had to have done to lose his job? Drive at 100mph? Someone told me years ago that if a BBC employee is found not to have a TV licence they face the sack. I’ve never checked on that (I have a licence) but should police officers who break the law be dismissed? A <a href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7129440.stm”>New York cop is fighting to be reinstated after testing positive for marijuana</a>, which he says his wife secretly put in his food.

Later today in the United States, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will give a speech to address some voters concerns over his Mormon faith. It’s a big issue for evangelical Christian voters in the Republican primary elections, but what do you think? Can he – as President Kennedy, a Catholic, did in 1960 – convince voters that the separation of church and state means they can put their religious differences aside and vote for him on other issues? Should it even be an issue?