18
Dec
07

THE BIG LINK UP

FROM ROS:  

We’re underway. The World Service is 75 today and WHYS is taking part in a series of programmes today that we’re calling the  ‘The Big Link Up’.  Read on for full details, including a guest list of people whop have been prevented from expressing their opinions.

 1800-2000GMT: WHYS LIVE FROM BUSH HOUSE

We’ll be broadcasting from the excitingly named Business Lounge which has a bit more room than our normal studio.

FIRST HOUR: You set the agenda. We are asking what you want to discuss about media and freedom of speech. We’ve been recieving comments and suggestions all day via text, email and the blog (please keep them coming), and some themes are emerging. 

A strong one so far is “Whether the mainstream media is letting you down?” – here are some of the comments we have received so far…

José, Montreux, Venuzuela

As long as the media is in the hands of big corporations and serving the interests of economic groups, the truth will be a casualty.

Anwer in Pakistan

Western media maybe be free but they still don’t report unfavourably on their governments’ policies, or on the deaths of their soldiers abroad. The holocaust has been enshrined and turned into an article of faith by most Western media institutions.

Anyii from Kampala

There are many newspapers in Uganda, but journalists are not free to report the truth as they know it. Government spies are planted in media companies to monitor activities of journalists. Some reporters have even been in prison.

Ray in US

Why are you people in the media so in the tank for the so called “climate change” fear mongers and religionists? When one of these fear mongering groups ramps up the fear by coming out with a report or story which is so disconnected with reality (ice sheets are melting) when in fact there is evidence to show this is not happening: you people in the media only report the world view of the “climate change” religionists?

Hisham

I have my doubts, though, about the reality of the independence of the BBC vis-à-vis the foreign office. I have been recently very disappointed and disillusioned by the coverage of some issues related especially to the middle-east, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, stories involving Israel, Venezuela or Zimbabwe.

So is the media reporting whats really going on in your area? Does this reported world chime with your real life experience? Do you feel you have enough access to the media? Do you prefer the new wave of bloggers and citizen journalists? Or can you not trust them either? Who decides the agenda of the media you consume? Is it the government? Or perhaps its pressure groups or powerful individuals? Or perhaps, you are happy with the media… 

BUT… we’re not on air yet and perhaps you have some better suggestions. Please send them to us, and leave a number so that we can call you back.

SECOND HOUR: Ungagging the gagged. We have invited a range of people who have been banned or censored for their work or their opinions. They’ll be considering if there are limits to free speech and you’re very welcome to join them.

THIS IS THE GUEST LIST:

AKI NAWAZ AKA PROPA-GANDHI. British rapper and musician, best known for his lyrics relating to suicide bombers and the immorality of Western governments. Here’s an article about him.

TASLIMA NASREEN. Bangladeshi novelist. Her novel “Lajja” (Shame) a novel and her four volume autobiography are banned for offending Muslim religious sentiments. Militant Muslim Islamic groups pronounced a death sentence on the writer and offered $2,000 to anyone who killed her. This is her website.DAVID IRVING. The historian who was jailed by an Austrian court after pleading guilty to denying that the Holocaust took place. This is his website.AMIR MUHAMMAD. Communist film maker from Malaysia. Three of his politically motivated movies are banned including most recently ‘Lelaki Komunis Terakhir’ which was banned for glorifying the communist leader Chin Peng. This is his blog.SALMAD AHMAD. Pakistani rock star who is fighting against Pakistan’s North West Frontier’s ban on music. Here’s an article featuring Salmad.   CHRIS KEMPLING. Canadian school teacher who is banned from voicing his opinions about homosexuality. He is opposed to the equality of same sex unions. Here’s the Wikipedia entry about him.ERIC ‘MANCOW’ MULLER. US radio host. Fired by his Chicago radio station on general principles. Amongst comments he has made on air, he compared singer Cat Stevens’s Muslim name, Yusuf Islam, to “American Killer” and “Hijacker.” Here’s his website. THABO THAKALEKOALA. Lesotho radio host. Released on bail on 25 June 2007 after being held for three days for reading a letter on the air demanding the prime minister’s resignation. Initially accused of “high treason,” Thakalekoala is now charged with “failing to report subversive activity.” Now based in South Africa. Here’s an article about him.CHIWONISO. Zimbabwean musician. Banned from Zimbabwe’s state radio and television for his political views. Here’s his website.  Get in touch if you’d like to speak to or send a message to any of them.


216 Responses to “THE BIG LINK UP”


  1. December 18, 2007 at 16:35

    Hi Ros,

    I think an interesting question would be the changing role of reporting on the scene. CNN’s new I-Report, along with other networks, have attempted to follow online information suppliers like Youtube, to bring international audiences reports directly from individuals – effectively removing the reporter on the ground. During Israel’s war with Hezzbullah in 2006 for example – images were provided more often by cell-phones and webcams than by the professional lense of reporters. Is this just a fad or are we seeing a real change in event reporting? What can we say about the credibility and reliability of non-professional, non-associated witnesses? I learn more from WHYS comments from around the world than from any conventional source!

    Anyway – you have may congrats on 75 years and it has been a pleasure listening this last year. It was my first year listening to the World Service and WHYS.

    Thanks again.
    Matt Godwin
    Halifax – Canada

  2. 2 Fiona Crack
    December 18, 2007 at 17:08

    We’ve been asking “should everyone be protected for what they say” on this debate http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=3934&edition=1&ttl=20071217111547 and it has been translated and put on the website in 8 languages – a journalist from each of these sections will also join us to talk about what opinion is coming through…..thanks to
    Rogerio from BBC Brazil,
    Hamid from the Persian service,
    Anna from BBC Russia,
    Shirong of the Chinese Service,
    Rachid of BBC Arabic,
    Salma from Hindi online,
    Aliya from Urdu
    Alejandra from BBC Mundo.
    Phew.

  3. 3 steve
    December 18, 2007 at 18:22

    Why not use lots of profanity during the ungagging the gagged segment of Wednesday’s programme? I realize bad words makes baby Jesus cry, and the FCC might have a problem with it, but I’m listening on satellite radio so it’s okay, so if the point of the show is to really ungagged the gagged, why not allow this?

  4. December 19, 2007 at 05:19

    Freedom of speech is a tricky thing. Use it too much and nobody listens, use it too little and we risk loosing it.

    Chris in Los Angeles.

  5. December 19, 2007 at 05:40

    Free speech in governed by what is culturally and politically acceptable in society.
    In today’s USA, it is culturally and politically acceptable to bash Islam and Muslims while trumpeting the Judeo-Christian values of the society.
    In Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, the accepted norm would be to bash Christianity and Judaism while promoting Islam.
    In other words, free speech in any society is “free”
    only when it is practiced within the acceptable parameters defined by that society. Any thoughts otherwise are considered unacceptable and are sometimes prosecuted.
    Hadi in Boston

  6. December 19, 2007 at 05:40

    As the daughter of a journalist and a radio engineer, I was practically taught from birth of the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. As an American, I value the fact that I can disagree, and disagree loudly, with my government and my peers. I value the fact that my dad can report the news without being censored or threatened and that when he has done foreign correspondent work, he has been allowed to report the unbiased truth to the best of his abilities, even when on patrol with the U.S. military.

    I’m currently an exchange student in Germany. I have noticed significant differences though in freedom of speech here, despite the fact that Germany is a wealthy, developed free nation. For instance, there is talk of banning the thinly veiled neo-Nazi party here. While I abhor antisemitism, racism and discrimination in all their forms, I believe that banning the party is the very worst thing the German government could do. By banning it and forbidding it to speak, it would go underground and acheive martyrdom, proving some of its points and gaining popular support. We need freedom of speech so that we can keep up constructive dialogue and debunk the frauds and haters in this world. Silencing them never works out and, more often than not, backfires.

    Claire, American in Germany

  7. 7 David
    December 19, 2007 at 06:10

    The print media and conventional broadcast media are easy for governments to control. The Internet is impossible for governments to control. This is demonstrated by the fact that the Chinese government makes heroic efforts to do so but the restrictions can be easily circumvented by anyone with a minimum of computer knowledge.

    Governments can jam the BBC world service shortwave broadcasts but short of cutting all telecom links with the outside world they can’t stop their citizens listening on the Internet or viewing the website.

    Print and conventional broadcasting are of decreasing importance for the free interchange of information. The Internet, which was originally developed by the U.S. military to provide a communication system which would withstand enemy attacks, has so far proved capable of withstanding all attacks on freedom of speech…

  8. 8 matt
    December 19, 2007 at 06:19

    what about freedom of speech AT THE BBC? it’s hard to imagine how impartial you really remain when reporting british news at home and abroad.

  9. 9 Wangyal
    December 19, 2007 at 06:20

    I find it cynical when I hear the pro-beijing gentleman from Hong Kong refer to the Basic Law a few times as if it is a divine writ diligently followed by the Communist Party of China when in china itself this govt. tramples on the rights to free speech enshrined in the Chinese constitution itself especially for Tibetan.

    Blogs like those of Tsering Woeser who recently won Expression of Freedom 2007 are shut down and people who express their religious views like Rongye Adak are imprisoned for 8 years just for saying that he wishes his religious leader Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. Radio Stations like RFA and VOA Tibetan services are jammed and access to websites are denied.

    So much for Chinese constitutional rights!!!

  10. December 19, 2007 at 06:29

    How do you present the third world? We’re still seen as the capital of disaster and doom. When an accident (or even terror blast) happens in the UK, it’s always how well you’ll guys are coping. Why do we in the South have to always be portrayed as places who are full of bumbling fools, incapable of getting things right? FN

  11. December 19, 2007 at 06:31

    I think freedom of speech is as good as knowing how to speak.Maybe if the Media is the mirror of the public then the public should better know what and what not qualities should they(public) be identified with.
    Akem Lewis
    Cameroon.

  12. December 19, 2007 at 06:36

    CONGRATS! BBC on your diamond jubilee, more lozenges to your throat. u gave the world a say. ride on astride the crest. jude, lagos writerswithoutwalls

  13. December 19, 2007 at 06:36

    Hi guys! Why not talking about the difficulties that the Iraqi and foreign journalists based in Baghdad are facing during their work to reveal what really happens daily in Baghdad?! May be like trying not to make any political or religious faction angry with them during their coverage of the stories that take place in my city! Happy birthday to the BBC World Service and happy Eid! With my love! Lubna!

  14. December 19, 2007 at 08:23

    Thanks for the happy birthday text messages, heres a few of them…

    John in Malta.
    Thank you for 75 years of dependability in both troubled and peaceful times.

    A.R.AGBOOLA,Lagos,Nigeria.
    Congrats.HAPPY75.More successful future.

    Karo, Nigeria.
    Happy Birthday BBC, may you continue to brew fine news and cook tasty programmes from your Station at Bush House till eternity.

    Christopher Vandy,Freetown Sierra Leone.
    Indeed the jorney of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Happy 75 B B C.

    Frank, Italy
    Merry christmas and happy anniversary to the bbc staff journalists reporters and listeners!

    Eevun, Ukraine
    Congratulations and please don t disappear from the short waves.

  15. December 19, 2007 at 08:33

    I would like Jamie Coomarasamy to inquire into why the flagship news broadcast (CBS ’60 Minutes’) in the USA is refusing to do a segment on the recently released Mearsheimer and Walt book as the following URL conveys (the lack of coverage validates what Mearsheimer and Walt convey in their excellent book – see http://www.israellobbybook.com in that the pro-Israel lobby stiffles free speech in the US media as well):

    CBS ’60 Minutes’ refusing to do segment on Mearsheimer/Walt book:

    http://www.itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=77703

  16. December 19, 2007 at 09:44

    An email from Miguel in Monterrey, Mexico

    Manufacturing consent is a book by Noam Chomsky with verey interesting points about the thinker. I am copying a small excerpt to give you a brief idea.

    Basically it states the way we shape the media and other sources of information so that we perceive things in a defined way. For instance, the way the american people used to think about Iraq. I remember looking at the news and seeing heroical portraits of the soldiers, how the president used to state in the news the “war on terror” and everybody else being a threat or an enemy… Which is not true. The questions to ask are: what is terror and who is it?

    On the other hand, sometimes when people take an active participation in the news, they dont have all the points of view. And in Monterrey for example, sometimes we see the news tilt in one way and then the next caller reinforces that point and so on… and in the end, the source of information wasnt necessarily reliable.

    ————–
    An absolutely brilliant analysis of the ways in which individuals and organizations of the media are influenced to shape the social agendas of knowledge and, therefore, belief… Herman and Chomsky prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of media leads inevitably to normative and narrow reporting.

    Herman of Wharton and Chomsky of MIT lucidly document their argument that America’s government and its corporate giants exercise control over what we read, see and hear. The authors identify the forces that they contend make the national media propagandisticthe major three being the motivation for profit through ad revenue, the media’s close links to and often ownership by corporations, and their acceptance of information from biased sources…
    —————-

  17. 17 ZK
    December 19, 2007 at 10:23

    Many congratulations to all staff and journalists at the BBC World Service for 75 years of excellent broadcasting, and here’s to the next 75.

    As for tonight’s show – at what point does free speech stop? It’s an old point but remains very relevant. Here in Singapore there are laws preventing the insulting of race and religion. We’re a racially and religiously diverse nation, and have had periods in our history where this has been seriously tested. But some might argue these laws restrict freedom of speech. As a general rule you’ll find most people – probably close to 99% of Singaporeans – choose not to openly discuss race or religion issues.

    And there’s the other side to things here, and that’s the political side. The BBC World Service is the ONLY media outlet here not linked to the government in some way, either directly or indirectly. (This, coupled with the BBC’s world-famous impartiality, is one key reason that you continue to be my first choice for news here in Singapore.) The recent BBC World Service Special Report on press freedom saw Singaporeans say that most of us prefer stability over full freedom, and only 36% felt that our media is free. The government does actively control the flow of news that might not be in positive light. Most of the time the Straits Times (the main broadsheet) is free to report, but the government has in the past resorted to suing publications (e.g. Far Eastern Economic Review, which is now banned in Singapore) when it feels articles have not been in the government’s interests.

    Our media isn’t a Fourth Estate, unlike in the Western world. And while I don’t think that’s bad, I do feel that it’s time my government relaxed a bit on what can be published, and take some fair criticism where it’s due.

  18. December 19, 2007 at 10:47

    For a long time, the BBC WS has been my main source of information. along with Aljazeera, the Moroccan Blogosphere and Independent newspapers in my home country Morocco, the BBC has provided me with invaluable opportunities to express my self and to have first hand news about my region of the World.

    I have my doubts, though, about the reality of the independence of the BBC vis-à-vis the foreign office. I have been recently very disappointed and disillusioned by the coverage of some issues related especially to the middle-east, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, stories involving Israel, Venezuela or Zimbabwe.

    Very often the language used by the BBC sounds terribly biased when for example you use the word “International community” or “international law” to describe what is in fact the will or the point of view of the powerful minority against the disenfranchised minority.

    The systematic recourse to so-called “experts”, most of whom enrolled in Think Tanks financed by who knows whom? and with agendas that often the listener is rarely reminded of or warned from?

    I persist in hoping that there is the good will amongst the wonderful men and women at the BBC to overcome all these difficulties and to win the independence they ought to have, and that most of your dedicated listeners deserver!

  19. December 19, 2007 at 10:56

    By the way, it would be nice if you could get Abdelilah Jamaï, an independent Moroccan journalist, forced by the power last year, to leave his country. I think he’s a first class journalist from the Arab world who I believe could enrich the conversation tonight.

    Happy birthday…

  20. December 19, 2007 at 11:05

    Sorry, terribly sorry: the Moroccan journalist I reffered to is in fact named Aboubakr Jamaï, former editor of “Le Journal Hebdo”

  21. December 19, 2007 at 11:15

    Lubna in Baghdad emailed us

    Hi guys! Why not talking about the difficulties that the Iraqi and foreign journalists based in Baghdad are facing during their work to reveal what really happens daily in Baghdad?! May be like trying not to make any political or religious faction angry with them during their coverage of the stories that take place in my city! Happy birthday to the BBC World Service and happy Eid! With my love! Lubna!

  22. 22 Luci Smith
    December 19, 2007 at 11:39

    When our present government came into power 6 years ago, we suddenly could no longer listen to National Public Radio in Copenhagen, so I became more interested in listening to the World Service. Now, I am an addict of BBC WSR. As a photo editor, I normally prefer to listen to radio rather than watching television. All news is edited, but I find that information on the on the radio or via the internet is best and least time-consuming.

    I consider the BBC to be “The voice of reason.” You are always attempting to show both sides of an issue or a conflict. And although there are people to whom I do not witsh to listen (like some of the right-wing Americans that you occasionally interview), you normally know when enough is enough, too.

    Being born in the US but now a Danish Citizen, I can only offer my dissent to the now so infamous cartoons which were published in a right-wing provincial Danish newspaper. I once worked for them but was fired because I did not wish to get a driver’s liscence and become a photo seller. At that newspaper, they could not see that they had hired a photo editor and that there was a difference between a photo editor who bicycles to the office and works and a seller of photos who drives around in a company car to magazines and tries to sell them photos. The newspaper is now famous for sending some journalists in a Land Rover around America and South America. I find it to be a stupid idea, just like I found insulting other people’s relgion to be a seriously stupid idea. Although most Danes are christian and believe in free speech, these days, the majority believe, just like I do, that the whole cartoon business was a combination publicity stunt and right-wing project to let our government show how much it backs George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”. And we Danes are increasingly disenchanted with that war and the Afghanistan one as well as the trumped-up “weapons of mass destructiion.” I consider those stupid cartoons to be just as dangerous as drunk drivers without lights on the road at night. But that is my personal opinion as a cyclist and respecter of other people’s faiths.

    Happy 75th birthday, BEEB! Don’t know what I would do without you! Keep on trucking, as we say where I come from- perhaps “Keep on cycling” is more appropriate?

  23. 23 Gaurav in Singapore
    December 19, 2007 at 11:47

    Wow! That’s quite a panel; this will be worth staying up to the wee hours of the morning for (and besides, there’s a public holiday tomorrow!)

    And happy birthday to the World Service as well, of course. I hope we’ll hear “London calling” for many years to come!

  24. December 19, 2007 at 12:03

    I think people should have unhindered freedom to speech but should be fully responsible for the consequences thereoff. I’m of the opinion that when people are given the opportunity to speak against what is wrong and in favour of what is right, society will not degenerate into the kind of conflicts we see all over the world today.

  25. 25 james morris
    December 19, 2007 at 12:17

    I would like Jamie Coomarasamy to inquire into why the flagship news broadcast (CBS ’60 Minutes’) in the USA is refusing to do a segment on the recently released Mearsheimer and Walt book as the following URL conveys (the lack of coverage validates what Mearsheimer and Walt convey in their excellent book – see http://www.israellobbybook.com – in that the pro-Israel lobby stiffles free speech in the US media as well):

  26. December 19, 2007 at 12:25

    Happy birthday BBC!
    If the BBC is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, I am celebrating my 25th year of listening to or devouring BBC world service English programmes. ( but unlike the BBC I can’t remember the exact date I started listening to the BBC English programmes but I am sure that was in 1982, when I was still a English learning beginner. (At that time, in Morocco, students started learning English at the age of 15/16). I still remember the issue of the magazine “London Calling”, I received from the BBC which was about BBC’s 50th anniversary.

    I still remember when BBC Arabic service was the second radio station in Morocco. People seeking extra news used to listen to BBC Arabic service. At that time, it used to have two broadcasting periods. One in the morning for two hours. And another period from 13:00 GMT to 20:00 GMT.

    My favourite programmes on BBC English service were “Outlook”, “Play of the Week” and “24 Hours” and programmes from “Learning English” like “Can I help you” and “Speaking of English”.

    Since 2006, I’ve become hooked to BBC WHYS. I still remember the first call I had from the show to take part. At first, I was hesitant because I had never spoken live on air. My contribution was, I think, the shortest on the show: 15 seconds! But through repeated contributions I succeeded in speaking longer without exceeding the allowed time.

    WHYS now takes a great part of the time I spend on BBC site.
    The BBC in the period I have been listening didn’t stop being innovative. Despite the emergence of tens of major news channels, BBC remains unique in its approach to the news in terms of coverage, tone and impartiality. It’s the only that targets the largest audience 33 languages on its website.

    The BBC through its dedicated journalists and staff received many awards. It still deserves more.

    Once again many Happy returns!!

  27. 27 Ray from Ohio
    December 19, 2007 at 12:33

    Why are you people in the media so in the tank for the so called “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) fear mongers and religionists? When one of these fear mongering groups ramps up the fear by coming out with a report or story which is so disconnected with reality (ice sheets are melting) when in fact there is evidence to show this is not happening: you people in the media only report the world view of the “climate change” religionists? Further, Why when these religionists changed the term from “global warming” to “climate change” did you people in the media soak it up like sponges and not question their means, methods, and motives? You folks are not doing your jobs, Why do you not present a balanced picture?

  28. 28 Frank Chisanga
    December 19, 2007 at 12:36

    HERE IN MY COUNTRY WE ARE TO SPEAK, BUT WE ARE IGNORED.

  29. 29 Anyii from Kampala
    December 19, 2007 at 12:46

    There are many newspapers in Uganda, but journalists are not free to report the truth as they know it. Government spies are planted in media companies to monitor activities of journalists. Some reporters have even been in prison.

  30. December 19, 2007 at 12:51

    Mark Sandell writes: interesting to read all these comments but wondering if a theme is emerging here about the media’s uneasy relationship with pressure groups and lobbyists . A couple of you have mentioned environmental groups and groups who are Pro- Israel or Pro-Palestinian being seen to unduly influence what we do. This is shaping up to be something definitely to put to Nigel Chapman, and may be a contender for the bigger debate at 6…

  31. 31 text from Zimbabwe
    December 19, 2007 at 12:58

    Here in Zimbabwe we don’t have freedom, all radio stations & Tv are government controlled we rely on Shortwave radio stations, thank u!

  32. 32 text from Nigeria
    December 19, 2007 at 12:58

    Freedom of speech is nothing but the views of opinionate elite made to be defended by all. It should not absolute.

  33. 33 Idriss Ahmed in Ghana!
    December 19, 2007 at 12:59

    Freedom of speech ought be defended like souveriegn state. But freedom of expresion must stick to it rules &regulations

  34. December 19, 2007 at 13:17

    John in Germany

    Hi Ros.

    May I make one remark about the free speech programme, a good idea but sadly de graded by including Mr Irwing. Excuse me but (no Holocaust), like saying the Americans and allies did not march into Iraq.
    Wishing you all the best.
    John

  35. 35 M0hamed - Guinea Conakry
    December 19, 2007 at 13:18

    HI BBC, I WISH TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR 75th ANNIVERSARY, BUT WHAT CONFUSES ME IS THIS PROGRAM ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH. I DON’T THINK EVERYONE UNDERSTAND THIS BECAUSE IN SOME COUNTRIES FREEDOM OF SPEECH MEANS FREE TO SPEAK OF WHAT IS HAPPENNING IN YOUR NEIGHBOR’S COUNTRY BUT DON’T DARE SAY WHAT HAPPENNING IN YOURS.

  36. December 19, 2007 at 13:18

    I want to know from this man in Cuba if press freedom really exist in Cuba?

  37. December 19, 2007 at 13:19

    Penelope Colston from Kokkola in Finland emailed us

    I would like to make a suggestion for your media debate. It is:
    is rampant political correctness limiting freedom of speech and restricting the media?

  38. 38 Jon Davis
    December 19, 2007 at 13:19

    I definitely believe that freedom of speech is important, even if the occasional idiot manages to get a few others to listen. For the most part, people such as David Irving tend to discredit themselves. Despite his website or books, I don’t think many people that haven’t been locked in a basement for 50 years would give him much credence.

    The only instance that you have listed that I would say has crossed lines that should be governed is Chris Kempling. He is employed as a teacher to instruct a curricula, not push his views on children. That should be left to the parents. He can state his views to other adults and say whatever he wants outside the classroom. However, he is abusing his position in the classroom and denying parents the right to raise their children how they deem appropriate. He is essentially a predator, praying on the children that are in his class and pushing his personal agenda.

    There are countless people that I find vile and prefer not to hear, and I have the right to listen or not. However, if we start regulating speech, where does it end. Should we ban insults to President Bush? Should we silenc opposing political parties like in Pakistan, Burma, Russia or China. I prefer tolerating speech that I don’t like and deciding on my own. Otherwise, intellect is worthless.

  39. 39 Dwight from Cleveland
    December 19, 2007 at 13:20

    As always, people should always be aloud to speak. Not only These people, but people who disagree with them. If the speech is so heinous it is the duty of concerned citizens to belittle and berate them. The worst case possible would be the guy who was a professed child molester that had never acted on his desires. Society should know that guys face like they know that of the Virginia tech shooter. When people see him walking down the street, if he applies for a job, or if he tries to get a loan or an apartment, he aught to be so well recognized that people say, “there is that guy who wants to be a child molester.”

    It would be easy to put up a website like that of the Darwin awards that parade the stupid and ignorant people and why. Turn them into laughing stocks.

    Could you imagine our society today if you weren’t able to proclaim the world is round, or diseases are caused by tiny microbes, or gravity is caused by the Earth spinning. Imagine a culture where you are stoned to death for proclaiming such ludicrous things like, “God doesn’t exist.”

  40. 40 Penelope, Kokkola, Finland
    December 19, 2007 at 13:23

    I would like to make a suggestion for your media debate. Iit is: is rampant political correctness limiting freedom of speech and restricting the media?

  41. 41 Jared -- Uganda
    December 19, 2007 at 13:24

    Freedom of speech is determined by what one knows. Difficulty of Information acquisition and limited research has made journalists to give the audience a raw deal in Uganda.

  42. 42 Tedla - NY City
    December 19, 2007 at 13:24

    In my country the main source of information is radios and the short wave radios are the life line for the million in Ethiopia.

    The Melese regime with the help of Chinese are currently jamming VOA Service in local languages, German Amharic and we have not heard the USA or German higher officials wanted to keep quiet.

    If you are condoning Jamming you are wasting tax payers money and suspend the jammed programs and punish the regime.

  43. December 19, 2007 at 13:25

    Dear Ros,

    There was a clip of President Bush that aired during Jamie’s segment this now as it had President Bush mentioning that we were attacked because of our freedoms. Such was very disingenuous as the US was tragically attacked at the World Trade Center in 1993 and on 9/11 because of US support for Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians as I conveyed in the exchange with Lee Hamilton of 9/11 Commission (can watch such via the ‘What Motivated the 9/11 Hijackers?’ video which is linked at the upper left of following URL which includes the transcript of my exchange with Hamilton):

    The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel

    http://representativepress.blogspot.com/2005/08/gorilla-in-room-is-us-support-for.html

    Former CIA Bin Laden head Michael Scheuer conveyed similar via the following youtube links:

    SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks:

    http://representativepress.blogspot.com/2006/09/reviews-of-without-precedent-inside.html

    Additional at the following URL:

    http://www.warwithoutend.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=39590

    PS: It was just mentioned as by the NY Post journalist during Jamie’s segment that the New York Post has no agenda. Hardly.. It is very pro-Israel towing the neoconservative line as even Rupert Murdoch’s son who used to manage it had mentioned that it was very pro-Israel/pro-Sharon.

  44. 44 mark sandell
    December 19, 2007 at 13:34

    Ok, we’re an hour and a half into the latest part of the big link up and some themes are emerging, as we have to start narrowing them down in time for the live special at Bush House :

    * is rampant political correctness limiting freedom of speech and restricting the media?

    * do lobby groups and pressure groups have too much influence over the media?

    * How do you balance security concerns and free speech ?

    *is it inevitable that governments compromise freedom of speech to help promote their agenda?

    please keep developing these- and of course, suggest some more…

  45. 45 Kopper (from the UK)
    December 19, 2007 at 13:34

    “Why are you people in the media so in the tank for the so called “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) fear mongers and religionists? When one of these fear mongering groups ramps up the fear by coming out with a report or story which is so disconnected with reality (ice sheets are melting) when in fact there is evidence to show this is not happening: you people in the media only report the world view of the “climate change” religionists? Further, Why when these religionists changed the term from “global warming” to “climate change” did you people in the media soak it up like sponges and not question their means, methods, and motives? You folks are not doing your jobs, Why do you not present a balanced picture?”

    Nice one Ray. We need to question why, the BBC should be impartial. Give the skeptics airtime as well, seeing as Radio 4 broadcast someone who didn’t think cutting CO2 emissions was the way to go, why not give airtime to those who think it’s just another natural process?

  46. 46 text from Nigeria
    December 19, 2007 at 13:35

    The “developed world”can fuss about Freedom of Speech,in Africa it is a waste of time.The Thieves that stole power are only moved by their agenda.Our Freedom is lost

  47. December 19, 2007 at 13:42

    Do you think freedom of speech exist to its fullest in the USA?

  48. December 19, 2007 at 13:43

    I blog in Ghana where we have only a few of us. Our media is considerably free,but 99 percent of them have political leanings. It’s the blogs give fair analysis.The Independent in the UK asserted with quotes from African blogs like mine.

  49. 49 Adamu Bello in Nigeria
    December 19, 2007 at 13:43

    According to the protocols of the learned elders of Zion, freedom is an idea only, not a reality.

  50. 50 Karo in Nigeria
    December 19, 2007 at 13:44

    Freedom of Speech has improved in Nigeria after the Military rule. The problem is the Journalists. They write with biased views and little research.

  51. 51 Banks in Amsterdam
    December 19, 2007 at 13:45

    Freedom is highly qualified concept. Like everywhere, the highest qualification is money, but in USA more than most. You’re free to die on the street ’cause you’re broke.

  52. 52 Kopper (from the UK)
    December 19, 2007 at 13:46

    Quote Obed from Ghana… “I blog in Ghana where we have only a few of us. Our media is considerably free,but 99 percent of them have political leanings. It’s the blogs give fair analysis.The Independent in the UK asserted with quotes from African blogs like mine.”

    In Ghana you mean, right? Well then, good luck to you and everyone like you!

  53. December 19, 2007 at 13:47

    Most Americans will tell you that wen the Actual elections come around that they “are choosing between the lesser of two evils”. Why is it with so many great candidates that represent the beliefs of the average citizen, why do we constantly end up with two people that represent politics as usual? With our first “billion dollar president” set to be elected, is money too much involved with the process? Do people from other countries feel their election precess is fair?

    I believe it is. I think one way to correct the problem would be to use an issue based system. One where people answer questions about their position on issues and a candidate is recommended that more closely matches their responses. It is better explained here.

    It turns out in this country you can only get your ideas recognized if you have lots of money, or if your speech is socially unagreeable. The average and normal have lost their voice.

  54. 54 text message anonymous
    December 19, 2007 at 13:47

    Not even the BBC believes totally in free speech. I have often heard presenters say Ok, thanks. That would not serve the interest of BBC. BBC has its own agenda.

  55. December 19, 2007 at 13:54

    Just heard NY Oil mention Barack Obama during Jamie’s segment which was just broken off due to technical difficulty.. Obama has been influenced by the pro-Israel lobby as well (see the beginning of the following article which just appeared in the December 3rd, 2007 issue of the American Conservative magazine:

    The Lobby Strikes Back

    A new book riles the AIPAC crowd, but makes it to the bestseller list anyway.

    http://www.amconmag.com/2007/2007_12_03/cover.html

    Additional about the Mearsheimer/Walt book (www.israellobbybook.com) at the following URL (as the UPI article which leads off there is an interesting read as well):

    http://www.itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=49800

  56. 56 john in LA
    December 19, 2007 at 13:54

    Why are you spending time talking about China? How about talk about America for a change?

    More than 60% of people in prison are black, but nobody talks about it. All the networks don’t talk about these issues. Black people are dying early, they cannot get loans from Banks – nobody talks about this. It is a taboo here in the US. Somebody is controlling the press. If hundreds of papers and journalists dont talk about it surely somebody is speaking for them.

    What’s more? Watch this – every year China issues a report of human rights concerning America in which it details plight of black people there but not one network covers it.

    How about this topic for a discussion –

    The media blocks positive stories from Africa and only concentrates on bad news. Have you watched the British media coverage of South Africa lately?

  57. 57 Constantin Cabiniuc, Romania
    December 19, 2007 at 13:58

    I am listening to BBC World Service on freedom of speech.
    There is a major problem in probably every country around the world:
    how much can we trust the media? How do we know that one journalist or another is as objective as possible?
    When I am interested in a particular subject, I am searching for several sources to find the truth. The problem is that the info can differ so much.
    Is a journalist, punished by law for misleading, misinforming the people? People who inform other people have a great responsibility. I already don’t know who and what to trust when I’m watching the news for example. I have to be very analytic and reserved before believing something from the media. I hate being misinformed.Even about minor subjects of interest is not fair to be mislead, no matter if it’s intended or not. We all have the right to know the truth, no matter how important it is. What can be done to correct this problem?
    Freedom of speech? Yes, of course, I agree, but who should be aloud and who should be constrained from informing others?

  58. 58 cedrick - malawi
    December 19, 2007 at 14:00

    Whenever I write something negative about Mbeki it gets posted on the BBC have your say website immediately. Alternatively when one sends many pro Mbeki comments, none of the appears. If you say something about the elite South Africans of European origin who owns the median in South Africa, you have no chance of those comments being published.

    I wonder if BBC really has freedom of speech. A friend of mine, a local BBC reporter once told me that if he files a positive story about Africa, the network is not interested.

  59. 59 Ray. Tweed Ontario Canada
    December 19, 2007 at 14:26

    Freedom of speech depends to a great extent on the ideas we hold, which in turn are based on the knowledge and information we have.
    My observation is that in this day of global communication, it’s the omission and ‘spin’ that media, particularly in north America, present.
    The so called ‘war on terror’ is governments method of restricting fundamental human rights, and shaping public opinion and the complicity of the media in presenting this helps perpetuate the ‘fear factor’ in society, and the ‘them and us’ mentality.
    We need more of the Robert Fisk type reporters who seek the real story.
    Regards to the ‘Beeb’.

  60. 60 SJ in Los Alamos New Mexico
    December 19, 2007 at 14:27

    I have not heard any BBC coverage of the FCC regulations passed yesterday concerning big media consolidation. Having Rupert Murdoch own more television, radio and newspapers in one city, for example New York, won’t help promote free speach. In this era when media coverage can be so biased for war as in the run up for the Iraq war we need more diversity in media not less.

  61. 61 Samer, Baghdad, Iraq (from BBCArabic.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 14:29

    Nations and people do not progress without free thought and the freedom to criticise ideas. We are part of the human family and share with the world the same human values. We should be free to criticise anything that is an affront to humanity and the rights of human beings, no matter how sacred. As to belittling of individuals under the guise of freedom of speech, this is immoral and criminal.

  62. 62 John D. Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 14:29

    On the question of free speech I have one that I would pose to any or all of your guests:
    Do you feel that accepting the right of freedom of speech includes the responsibility of limiting that speech to appropriate forums?

    John in Salem

  63. 63 Samer, Baghdad, Iraq (from BBCArabic.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 14:30

    Nations and people do not progress without free thought and the freedom to criticise ideas. We are part of the human family and share with the world the same human values. We should be free to criticise anything that is an affront to humanity and the rights of human beings, no matter how sacred. As to belittling of individuals under the guise of freedom of speech, this is immoral and criminal.

  64. December 19, 2007 at 14:32

    Freedom of speech entails a lot of courage, especially in countries where the media is state controlled. People in countries ruled by one-party-system were and are still afraid to express themselves freely even when speaking to a stranger. In Russia, there was a competition for the best political joke as an opening on free speech. During the communist era, people were afraid to express opposition to the regime even to their closets friend for fear of being reported to the KGB. However, this campaign was just a joke as in recent years freedom of speech seems to be repressed with the death of journalists like the famous Anna Politkovskaya.

    Despite the opportunity the internet gives people to express themselves through blogging, there are still risks of being caught. Yahoo and Google are particularly known for passing information about net users, especially in China, leading to prosecution and imprisonment. There is still censorship as many sites are closed. In Morocco, Google Earth and Live journal aren’t available. There were attempts to close Youtube. But this lasted for only a week.

    One area that has become a breeding space for those seeking free expression is blogging. Many are using this tool to communicate their views. But blogging can’t be without shortcoming as there is the risk of publishing unfounded ideas, especially when it comes to religion or race.
    Despite for calls for total freedom of speech, there is still scepticism about blogging as it can be just about inventing news. But blogging can be fascinating and inspiring if it is about views that seek to bridge the gap between opposite tendencies. Bloggers should have responsibility about what they publish. They shouldn’t use free access to the internet and internet facilities to propagate disparaging attitudes. Blogging should be an open forum for people to share ideas with one another across the world regardless of nationality, creed or race.
    If some use blogging as an escape from news censorship imposed on professional journalists, they should learn to be enlightening and inspiring. However, blogging remains for the few lucky. Currently, there is still information divide because of basic and computer illiteracy affecting poor countries.
    Bloggers can be more challenging if they can get reliable sources for their output and come up with convincing opinions. Blogging should at least remain a mental exercise and an intellectual leisure. The more one blogs, the more one gets new horizons through personal efforts and continuous mental drills.

  65. 65 Zerosopher
    December 19, 2007 at 14:47

    I think freedom of speech need to be carefully taken.
    Unilateral freedom that encroaches upon the legitimate freedom other mass group is not equivalent to freedom.
    Freedom of speech is also not equivalent to free speech of any kind or type that comes out of unilateral freedom inciting hatred, violence and terrorism. Rather freedom of speech means sensible speech that promotes harmony, responsibility, justice and often reveals injustice and oppressions within a society.
    Tolerance is often related to freedom of speech. Tolerance should also not be unilateral. It should not be one sided meaning only one side would be able to speak, write or to express anything they want to speak or write without giving any due care or importance or due respect to objectivities, facts on and around a topic spoken about or the legitimate feelings of a group of people on whom or about whom something is spoken or written.
    In the name of freedom of speech often irresponsible, baseless, subjective materials are published costing huge amount of resources and often life of humans. Examples are recent baseless cartoonist expressions involving prophets’ of God or baseless ridicules of heavenly books by some chaotic writers without having adequate level of knowledge on the subject they have written about. These baseless speeches neither come for free nor come from within freedom.
    Freedom of Speech should be sensible speech.
    Many thanks for sharing my opinion.

  66. December 19, 2007 at 14:51

    Ros,
    Thanks or the whole effort of spreading the good news you are doing.
    Most especialy thank you for this Topic. To me, these people shld be given freedom of speech. For it’s through their speech that the public gets to know of their opinion. Besides, these people even speak on behalf of others. As if that is not enough, when they say something about it, even the ones messing up get to know the public is aware of our injustice, and they will either change or do it just deliberately.
    The topic or question to discuss tonight should be;-
    Are the so called African leaders, real Leaders or Rulers. Is that every liberater must do away with the lives of the ones he is to liberate first and that he has to get out of power only after being thrown out of office by another Liberater ?
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon Ros,

    James.

  67. 67 rod birleson
    December 19, 2007 at 14:56

    As of today, The most successful documentary film in history, “Fahrenheit 9/11” has never been on broadcast TV in America.

  68. 68 Heber Cunha, Pernambuco, Brazil (From BBCBrasil.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:01

    There is freedom of speech in Brazil, but unfortunately that is limited by the lack of education. Most of the population do not know how to express themselves because they lack good education. Brazil’s political model is based on a pseudodemocracy.

  69. 69 John de Nugent
    December 19, 2007 at 15:01

    Irving does NOT say there was no Holocaust if by that you mean lots of Jewish civilians dying.

    All Holocaust revisionsists concede that Jews were shot in large numbers as partisans or villagers avidly supporting Soviet partisans, and others died tragically at the end of the war when food and medicine utterly collapsed in the camps.

    But that was the whole point of the round-the-clock Allied bombing effort, wasn’t it? To collapse the German economy. Are we amazed that the US and UK achieved their goal?

  70. 70 Mr Liang, Beijing, China (From BBCChinese.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:04

    Mass media are considered “tools” in China and a lot of bad things are carried out under such a system. It’s true that people can argue about trivial matters, but if the party’s authority is threatened, they (the party) will “nip it in the bud”. Dozens of journalists are languishing in Chinese jails; they are fearless, sacrificing freedom for press freedom. When can we have truly objective and fair reporting in our country? When can we have real democracy? Harmonious Society is pure propaganda – they are not really building up a harmonious society.

  71. 71 Siddharath Kausalayan, Greater Noida, India (From BBCHindi.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:14

    Right of expression cannot be linked to freedom of expression. Nobody can be given the right to attack a nation’s pride, show disregard for its interests, disregard society’s interests and a fair judiciary. Statements which are discriminatory, provoke violence or are illegal should be kept out of the definition of freedom of expression. These fall in the realm of law and should be punishable according to law.

  72. 72 Rauffi, Harat, Afghanistan (From BBCPersian.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:16

    Freedom of speech is an inseparable part of human’s life and without it, it is not possible to improve and advance in life, provided that freedom does not mean insulting, ridiculing and defaming other people, as well as religion and the government. Freedom should not cause insecurity or misleading of the public opinion either. No one should be prosecuted because of expressing the truth.

  73. 73 Fedor, St Petersburg, Russia (From BBCRussian.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:16

    Restrictions should exist as far as violence and pornography are concerned. But as for politics, bribe-taking by government officials and other negative aspects of the regime, all this should be covered by the media. Journalistic investigations should be conducted. Stability and good standards of living are impossible without press freedom. In Russia TV channels are not free, while some freedom remains on the internet.

  74. 74 José Briceno, Montreux, Venuzuela (From BBCMundo.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:18

    One thing is the freedom to express ideas or views, which possibly exists in many countries. Another one, is the freedom to communicate those views in the media. As long as the media is in the hands of big corporations and serving the interests of economic groups, the truth will be a casualty. In the case of Venezuela, for example, there is freedom of expression, but outside of the country there is only one view of the country, the one that is conveniently pushed by world power groups.

  75. 75 Ayub Khan, Pakistan (From BBCUrdu.com)
    December 19, 2007 at 15:24

    Everyone should be free to speak their mind. But insulting someone’s faith or religion falls outside of this freedom. There is no freedom in my country to speak one’s mind. We are ruled by a dictator who can say and do what he wants, but if anyone speaks out against him, they are immediately labelled ‘unpatriotic’ and punished. Our dictator claims that he puts ‘Pakistan first’, and wants to see a blind, deaf and mute Pakistan.

  76. 76 DEVADAS, KERALA, INDIA
    December 19, 2007 at 15:28

    today i want just to wish happy birthday to all at bbc for its 75th birthday .bbc even after 75 years retaining the integrity ,independence,and free speech they have set for 75years back still moreorless clinging to the values they wish to be associated with is indeed exemplary in this fast changing world of values.when even ones own culture is going into oblivion in this era of globalisation when the world want us to believe all as a community to suit their domination agendas.when allaround the sametechnology,sameentertainment,same fast foods are the order of the day is bbc radio with its distinct style of presenting anything under the sun whatever might be the adverse circumstances financially,politically,circumstantial difficulties to work with yet retaining their core values of integrity,independence,and honesty in presenting news to the listeners all around the world .
    AND THIS BEST EPTIMOSED IN THIS 75TH YEAR BY ALAN JOHNSTON WHO IN 2007 WAS HELD CAPTIVE FOR 114 DAYS IN GAZA BY EXTREMISTS IN PALESTINE YET FACING ALL OF IT NO HUMAN BEINGS CAN ON THE EDGE OF BEING EXECUTED.
    ADDED TO THIS AS A LISTENER THIS IS MY 25TH YEAR OF LISTENING AND THE PAINS AND JOY IT BOUGHT IS ALL COMING BACK.PAIN OF GETTING SCOLDING FROM MY PARENTS PARTICULARLY MY MOTHER WHO DOES IT AS I WAS LISTENING TOO MUCH THE RADIO DURING MY STUDYTIME AND ALSO THE ELECTRIC SHOCK I GOT WHILE HEARING TESTMATCH SPECIAL FROM THE VALVE RADIO THAT NEARLY FATALLY WOULD HAVE INJURED ME IF NOT I NOT FALLEN ON MY BED IS STILL FRESH IN MY MEMORY.AND THE INNUMERABLE HOURS OF JOY OF HEARING ALL MY HEROES PLAY BOUGHT TO MY HOUSE BY TEST MATCH SPECIAL COMMENTATORS AND THE BBC NEWS WHICH PAINTED THE PICTURE OF THE WORLD IN MY MIND I CANT THANK ANYONE BUT BBC FOR IT. STILL IAM THE SMALL HOMETOWN BOY OF KANNUR WHICH IS IN THE NORTHERN PART OF KERALA.(ITS SAID 200 YEARS BACK CRICKET WAS FIRST PLAYED BY COLINCOWDREYS GREAT GRANDFATHER IN TELLICHERRY WHICH IS 21 KMS FROM HERE }.AND DURING MY MASTERS OF LAW IN COCHIN UNIVERSITY I WAS SPECIALISING IN HUMAN RIGHTS AND I COULD AMAZE MY TEACHER AND COLLEAGUES WITH MY KNOWLEDGE AROUND THE WORLDTHIS WAS ENTIRELY DUE TO BBC RADIO NEWS AND MY PARENTS BUYING ME SO MANY BOOKS TO REFER.AND NOW IN 1987 I HAVE LOST MY
    PARENTS AND NOW I AM ALONE HERE IN KANNUR BUT STILL I HAVE THAT FRIEND BBC STILL WITH ME SO HEARING AT ALL TIMES REDUCES THE STRESS OF LOSS OF MY DEAR DEAR PARENTS TO AN EXTENT .
    LOVINGLY ALL THE BEST FOR ALL AT BBC .

    DEVADAS
    KERALA
    INDIA

  77. 77 Virginia Davis
    December 19, 2007 at 15:57

    .”…in the prison of his days/teach the free man how to praise…” Auden on the death of Yeats

    Happy Birthday, BBC!

    Here in Portland, OR there’s a good bit of news posted on the telephone poles.
    And City Hall and citizens get upset.

    Happy Birthday, again. It’s clear y’all mean a lot to a lot of people. Thanks for the WHYS forum.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  78. 78 Joey
    December 19, 2007 at 16:01

    Listeners/Participants,

    This is a good celebration, and it’s nice to feel apart of it!

    Someone from the BBC made a reference to today’s theme, and asked the question, “Are people getting a balanced diet?” That is a balanced diet of news.

    I think in America we use to have that spoon-fed, no choice mentality. However, that’s not what the BBC is. The impressive selection of programmes to choose from, is way too much for one individual to fully incorporate into their life.

    News is what you think it is. Some people could watch the news, and not think about it or learn anything. Then I could watch a documentary on the remote peoples of Africa, or the Culture report from London, and learn more than a week of highlites and headlines from the CNN network or any major network in America.

    Pretty soon we will all have this BBC model. Someone else said that the BBC is mainstream. How could that be, when the BBC covers every region of the world?

    Best wishes,
    Joey, Colorado

  79. 79 Eric
    December 19, 2007 at 16:14

    Dear John in Germany,

    Could you please substantiate your point with precisely referenced quotations from David Irving’s writings?

    Thank you.

    Eric

  80. 80 Will Rhodes
    December 19, 2007 at 17:03

    “Jared — Uganda

    Freedom of speech is determined by what one knows. Difficulty of Information acquisition and limited research has made journalists to give the audience a raw deal in Uganda.”

    You have hit the proverbial nail on the head, Jared.

    We have to look at what we are taught as well as what we learn that will influence what we have to say.

    We ‘seem’ to have become a sheep race rather than a questioning race, as questioners we went forward so quickly we evolved to what we are – now it looks as if we just simply accept that there are no more questions, moral or otherwise to ask, so have stopped doing so. When did this sadness happen?

  81. 81 Craig Leventhal
    December 19, 2007 at 17:05

    On the subject of government censorship of media outlets, I feel that a government that is insecure about its own mandate to govern, tries tosuppress the media as a measure to try and maintainits’ loosening grasp on power. The need for a government to take these measures should serve as a sign that it needs to re-examine its’ own internal policies, or step down especially if it cannot tolerate even constructive criticism. This speakes volumes about the power of the media, even a suppressed media. CRAIG

  82. 82 Chernor Jalloh
    December 19, 2007 at 17:06

    Iam writing to you the BBCWorldService to send you my greatest wishes on your 75th anniversary as I always do since you announced the birthday ceremony that is to take place today. There are some lullaby voices that I have missed from the BBCWorldService.These are some of them:Cubnamensa,Robin white(until recently I heard him reporting from Mozambique in countries that are members of the commonwealth.Scolding our politicians as he used to do in every interview with Charles Taylor,Sambokari allias mosquto at one time when he was surrounded by a group of RUF rebels and they started firing in the forest while he was talking to the BBC focus on Africa on his satellite phone.I shall never forget that day.When the S/Leonean army led by Captain Valentine Strassa took over power on a bloodless coup d’Etat, Robin white was asking very strong questions such as HOW SOON IS VERY SOON?That was when the army promised to leave power).I cannot let my memories fade away without mentioning the fouder member of NetWork Africa,Hilton File from S/Leone.Elizbeth Ohene from Ghana and many many others.I can still remember my dear friend Alan Jonston when he was reporting from Afghanistan.It was a day when the Taleban were in power;a man was accused of sleeping with a young child in a hospital in Kabul and he was found guilty he was later on sentenced to death and then his hands were tied behind his back and laid behind a shelled house.And a bulldozer was called in to knock the wall on the man and luckly for him he escaped death that was a real story that no-one had ever told before I can also recall Julian Marshall on news hour when he said let us puncture the frozen picture during aninterview with someone may be from Russia.It has always been great times for me to receive the BBCWS E-mail news letters that contain the members of the BBC that I have wanted to see(Murry Hugate Ros Athkins)and Iam hoping see more of them.They are like part of my family.Happily,is when some of them stare at me as if they want to make a live interview with me,concerning migration or events that are happening some where.It is lovely indeed to share my experiences with aninternational media like the BBC.We are not free to do whatever we feel like doing as we are humanbeings.If we are left to our device the world will never be a nice place to settle in.The media shouldnot be risking their lives in war zones they should always take precausions on what they report on and be more balanced to avoid being censored both at home and abroad.A good journalist is the one who tell what he sees and adding more meat will never spoil a soup.Once again,I congratulate you very much due to your hard work to tell us the other side of the story.

  83. 83 George
    December 19, 2007 at 17:20

    The FCC ruling and congressional debate over consolidating print and broadcast media is an important topic.

    The forces of evil here in the USA want a single voice of propaganda without debate and total news blackout of important topics and desent.

    This makes ease of control of the population for a more totalitarian run government but is the exact opposite to all this nation is founded on and stands for.

    I prefer democracy personally.

  84. 84 Janai Calluy
    December 19, 2007 at 17:49

    Hi there,

    Objectivity is a utopia. The only thing “the media” can do is trying to aproach it as close as possible.
    To my oppinion the BBC world service is doing a good job if you compare it to FOX news for example. you can see a difference in objectivity/independance.

    Cheers

  85. 85 Steven Feld
    December 19, 2007 at 18:03

    Dear Ros,
    I have been considering this issue of Freedom of Speech,especially pertaining to the “historian”
    David Irving.
    At times, I feel that the society,”We the people”, have both the right and the need,as well as the forum to express also OUR feelings towards the atttitudes of some of society´s members.
    Although I am almost always on the side of freedom of speech,I think that we should not automatically desist from expressing OUR views about such despicable,hate-orientated ideologies such as David Irving´s.
    Society has long recognized such controls on indivual rights, as with libel and slander.
    I always appreciate attempts to curb the hate-inspired influence of those such as David irving.
    Does jail always have to be the means?
    I don´t think so.
    What about public censure?
    steven

  86. 86 gerald
    December 19, 2007 at 18:05

    happy anniversary bbc,regardless of all that has been said about the bbc being biased especially when reporting about certain issues.I do belive it realistically stands out as a neutral in its reporting. viva bbc

  87. 87 John D. Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 18:28

    In the late 1960’s a widely respected American journalist, Walter Cronkite, spoke up on the evening news and condemned the war in Vietnam. If that were to happen today he would be denounced as anti-American and fired from the network.

    I feel that the press is hiding behind the principles of non-biased journalism out of fear of losing viewership.

    John in Salem

  88. 88 Jocelyn Reed
    December 19, 2007 at 18:29

    Hi,

    I am listening in Bend Oregon. I find the US media disgusting, but to be fair, it’s not all thier fault. They are a buisness and unfortunately more Americans care about Britney Spear’s custody battle than about important issues like Dar Fur, so the unimportant issues get the air time. (Please excuse bad spelling.) NPR is my saving grace. There is no other good news source in my life. Thank you for your show.

    Jocelyn
    Bend OR

  89. 89 Robert
    December 19, 2007 at 18:32

    I listen from the states, in San Diego California. I listen to BBC Worldservice via the Internet as my local public radio station only broadcasts BBC during very few time slots.

    Your question about what listeners in the states are interested in having covered is problematic. The only people who will respond to your question are obviously listening to BBC Worldservice.

    It may be that those who may be interested are not listening because they are not aware of the broadcast; can’t get the broadcast; or many other reasons.

    National Public Radio does a good job but doesn’t have the funding to cover the diverse locations that BBC can. I listen to both, NPR for depth of news in the states and BBC for a more worldwide perspective.

    –Robert

  90. 90 Tommy C.
    December 19, 2007 at 18:33

    Freedom of speech should include religions. Religion causes so much bloodshed and sorrow, that it is fair game, whether or not you follow my religion or I follow yours. Freedom of speech should be an “all or nothing” scenario.

  91. 91 Frank Johnston
    December 19, 2007 at 18:33

    I disagree with the Student who said Americans don’t listen. I am listening on my computer at work while working. I listen daily to NPR until the news is over then switch to BBC World Service. I have traveled to Europe, Africa, South America, and Japan so I am interested in what happens around the world and I know I won’t get that info on the TV evening news. It often fascinates me to see which stories I heard on BBC that did show up on the TV news.

  92. December 19, 2007 at 18:35

    My first and only issue about people’s conception of freedom of speech, is that I find it very oxy-moronic to say “we have free speech, except about this.” Free speech is free speech, no matter the topic. “speech” is not “action” so people should be able to say anything, and excuse me but if your “feelings” get hurt, well grow up.

    Additionally, however, i do wish to add to all the Theocratic states in the world, tragically they are primarily Islamic, but Freedom to Criticize and speak against religious dogma is the RIGHT of EVERYONE. A religion revolves around a “belief” not a fact or law. Theocratic states may say that my comments about religious dogma is “offensive”, but to me the very existence of such dogma is offensive. So who’s freedom is to limited: My Freedom from Religion, or your Freedom from being “Offended”. If someone truly believes in somehting, then it doesn’t matter what anyone says about their faith, religion, or icons.

    Nobody ever offends my faith, because I am willing to concede the fact that it might not be true, but believe in it anyway….That is the definition of FAITH.

  93. 93 Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 18:36

    In the United States, a big YES! In a country where Disney is the second biggest media firm, do you really think these big wigs care about the truth? No, it’s all about the money! Is the BBC letting people down, I don’t think so. The BBC is the most unbiased new casts I’ve ever seen. You would never see or hear an American mainstream news cast asking today’s topic. I think Disney would open an amusement park on the Gaza strip before that would happen!

  94. 94 Michael Calwell
    December 19, 2007 at 18:37

    Never mind politicians and corporations, the BBC is run and managed by a liberal left-leaning cabal that censor and control output in a way that is completely unjustified given its charter and its public funding.

  95. 95 Shasta
    December 19, 2007 at 18:40

    I think it’s interesting that on a radio show, most of the comments I’ve heard relate to television news. As a newspaper journalist here in the States, I’d be interested in a discussion on the relative biases of print vs. broadcast journalism.

  96. 96 Gaurav in Singapore
    December 19, 2007 at 18:41

    Hello, everybody at Business Lounge, Bush House! This is Singapore calling 😛

    Every organisation will have its biases, its beliefs, its viewpoints. I think this is something “new” media will be able to help with: in Singapore, for instance, I’ve given up on local MSM entirely, and rely entirely on blogs, podcasts, online forums, and that ancient form of information known as “gossip” to keep up with local news and, to a limited extent, even world news. What I love best about online media is a lack of political correctness: everybody wears their biases on their shoulders, freely agreeing that they lean this way or that. It isn’t subsumed under a need to be “neutral”, for instance. There is also the push-and-pull on websites like Wikipedia, where people from both sides argue things until everybody’s view is represented, one way or another.

    Of course, I have the luxury of keeping two or three days behind the international news; neither of my countries are currently threatened from outside, or given to (much) internal strife, or are dangerously close to riots, for instance. If I need to know what is happening in, say, Mumbai, right now (because members of my family live there), I’ll need someone reliable to go to, and these days, that’s almost inevitably http://news.bbc.co.uk.

  97. 97 Henry in California
    December 19, 2007 at 18:42

    Dear BBC,
    Thank you for the world wide services for 75 years. I was less that 8 years when my father bought a Philips radio made in Britain. I used to listen with no comprehension since English was not my first language. In fact when it came to the football scores aired on the BBC, I thought it was just mere noise not actual scores from games played across Britain. In my adult years, I was glued to the radio listening to Allistair Cook’s “Letter from America”. I have a book with the collection of his letters. That shows how much I loved that man and the way he controlled the language. Robin White is my man also. His questioning techniques like a lawyer which matches that of Court TV cases.
    You know the BBC gave myself and many others hope when were in Ngalu Bo District running from the Rebels-Junta alliance when they attacked Bo. Under gun fire. I left two radios on my bed and that saddened me especially I was always glued to the BBC for the latest news especially on my country. It was on BBC that we heard of the overthrow of the former President by Johnny Paul Koroma. We were lost without the BBC for few days until a guy who wanted everyone to know he had a radio, blasted his radio every 3:00 am and he turned to the BBC for Network Africa. Since I had no radio, I woke up to stand in the dark to listen to Network Africa always anxious to hear about events in the country. Sometimes there were sad news and sometimes good. When there was good news from the BBC, that made our day. News from the BBC especially the good ones gave us hope.
    When I left Sierra Leone for Canada in 1998, I wrote a lot of letters to the BBC about the war, the peace plan in Sierra Leone. Thank you BBC for reading my letters. I understand the letters were discussed on the radios in Sierra Leone. You can be sure I love my country. In left because there was a threat on my life because I never cooperated with the Junta. When the the secretary of state in the Southern Province used the Kiss 104 FM to insult the people for their non cooperation, I hid the radio. When the news leaked out to the Junta, they were finding ways to kill me. I left for Ngalu with many others, a journey that lasted for two days and nights taking the ‘bush” roads. They were looking for my head according to a British friend who stayed opposite my house in Bo. He too left for a village when he heard the rumors he told me after we all returned when again the BBC informed us that it was now good for us to return. Unfortunately this my British friend who was running the Medical Research Center in Bo died when I was out of the country. He was a good friend. I used his sattelite radio to communicate with Freetown on my way to Guinea. There were no land phones that time and no cell phones in 1998.
    Sometimes I do criticize and the BBC also has not been spared. I believe you always wanted to be “Free to Speak” It is not personal. You have sometimes given me the platform and sometimes you have denied me the platform to shout my brains out. Deep down however the BBC is my love and it is almost a religion to listen to the programs everyday. Please I do appreciate every bit of you. Now you have a new face and they are beautiful.
    HAPPY 75 BBC THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.

    PS. The Bangura saga in Britain is unfortunate. I do not agree with his lawyers that his life will be in danger in Sierra Leone. Those are lies and should not be encouraged. Britain helped to stop the war and they know everything that is happening in the country. There are no cults bent on harming Bangura. Allow him to stay but our country should never be portrayed as a brutal one. That is bad publicity for a country coming out of war. The country needs every support not this negative one that may not be helpful to the country just because someone is having a good time in Britain and wants to stay. Bangura stop destroying the name of your country for greener pastures.

  98. 98 Carolyn in Austin, TX
    December 19, 2007 at 18:43

    As terrific as the BBC world service coverage has been, I’m curious if the BBC has had any significant budget cut-backs at their international bureaus? And if so, how does this affect coverage?

  99. 99 Sarah
    December 19, 2007 at 18:44

    My main problem with the media is that they are feeding the fire, rather than report about it. I’m an American, and its sad to say that the so-called real journalist are nothing more than propaganda experts. I get more honest news out of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert than out of watching CNN (I would exclude CNN international, they seem to do a better job). As someone had said earlier, NPR does a better job than most other out lits, but its still heavily biased. This leads me to stop watching the news on TV, and read it all online, b/c then, at the very least, I can avoid being plagued with stories about brittney spears and paris hilton. I think the move the FCC has made will only make the quality of journalism go from bad to worse, and it will not be long before Murdoch can manipulate what we see and hear from all stations. I just hope nothing similar happens to the internet, which remains the best option for those seeking real news.

  100. 100 Bryan
    December 19, 2007 at 18:45

    There’s no question that the media in the United States does not serve the public interest. That includes National Public Radio, where instead of getting locally-produced programming concerning our own communities, we get piped-in programming like All Things Considered that don’t know the issues that our communities are dealing with. This is particularly true for small communities. The recent FCC ruling is only going to make this worse by allowing newspaper outlets to buy TV stations. This will lead to fewer voices on the air, less local news, and less women- and minority-ownership of the media. That does NOT serve the public interest. We proved it four years ago when the Republican clown on the FCC tried to do this, and we’re ready to prove it again.

    Bryan, Portland, Oregon

  101. 101 Frank Tramer
    December 19, 2007 at 18:46

    I would like it known that although the media must to be free from Government and Corporate influences it also must to police it’s self. Here in the United States we are increasingly only getting a slanted version of the news from our Media outlets. The individual Owners and Media Corporations are directly influencing, by direction or turning a blind eye to their employees actions, the information that is provided to the public. Nowhere is this more evident than the Media’s reporting on the election process and any story that may be slanted in order to provide their party with an advantage. If you cannot police yourselves, than how can you expect to be fully trusted by the public! The roll and the goal of the Media should be to only report the facts and not to interject an individual’s opinion of those facts. There are radio & TV shows and columns in which that type of reporting is the proper venue and it should not be allowed anywhere else.

    Frank Tramer

  102. 102 L. Walker
    December 19, 2007 at 18:46

    Sure, you can have free speech… you just can’t insult me, my dog, my god, my house, my leaders, my rules, my kids, my sense of taste, my cooking, my car, my job, my politics, my religion, my sect, my school, my clothes my country, et al.

    AND I’ll decide EXACTLY what the word ‘insult’ means on a case by case basis.

    free, huh. either it’s all free or it’s not. you can’t have a half free, or a quarter free – any restrictions make it restricted, and the definition of ‘free’ no longer applies.

    mainstream media letting viewers down? no matter what you listen to or watch….take everything with a grain of salt.
    i stick with bbc for news and msnbc for punditry.
    love the new blog, BTW…

    L. Walker CA, USA

  103. 103 John F
    December 19, 2007 at 18:47

    A thought on the state of the news media here in the US: The fact that I and a growing number of Americans rely on BBC World Service for our news should tell you just about everything you need to know about the quality of American journalism.

  104. 104 Jason
    December 19, 2007 at 18:48

    I see comments here praising the virtues of free speech and in the same breath denouncing speech against religion, a person’s integrity and the government. Statements like these represent a glaring contradiction in the minds of those who believe in them. I’m driven to defy their wishes with the following: Are your religions and governments so weak and your egos so vulnerable as to be brought down with mere words? If so, they should be brought down immediately and replaced with better institutions and more emphasis on being forthright.

  105. December 19, 2007 at 18:49

    The media in the U.S. is not reliable, very biased towards the republican political party, also it’s very commercial, made for selling ads and junk or media propaganda like music, movies or sports related people.
    Example: Days and days talking about O.J. Simpson, about steroid use, about this athlete or actor using drugs or having sex with whomever else famous or non famous. Weeks and years talking about Britney Spears life, not just on tabloid media, but also on regular media. The political issues and problems facing local areas are not really brought up, or they are brought up quickly and then they are over.
    Also, regarding Tianamen (Where chinese government tanks run over people), the media people made a big circus about, the same thing happens in Israel (Israelian tanks running over some palestinian woman at her home), NO ONE in the media made the same fuss about it.
    That’s just some of the many defects you see on the media. Bloggers reporting are alright, because if one starts reporting misinformation someone else (Many else) WILL CORRECT the information, on the media, no one does, they stick to their mistakes and try to pass them as truth.

  106. 106 Tom in Oregon
    December 19, 2007 at 18:52

    In the US our Conservative Republican dominated FCC recently gave the ok to consolidate all media into the hands of very few corporations; of course this is what Mussolini called the Corporative State also known as Fascism.

  107. 107 Brian
    December 19, 2007 at 18:52

    Freedom of speech is freedom to speak about anything. It is the individual’s job to decide what is right for himself. However, if you don’t have the view of each side in the news – whether in papers, the web, or television – it becomes not free speech, but just a one-sided talking point.

    Even with two sides, in some American news channels, the host is their to shoot down their guest’s points and opinions if it doesn’t match their own thoughts or their stations’.

    Brian
    Cleveland

  108. 108 Slickjesus
    December 19, 2007 at 18:53

    Are you seriously pretending to create dialogue about freedom of speech? BBC is lacking in cred as is the New York Times and all other talkinghead empires. Embedded journalists in Iraq. A few weeks ago you had a round table about Zaire(?) Zambia(?) I dont remember, It was Africa at least, but one bloke said “you are free to say as you please, but it may be the last thing you say” Then there is the journalists in Russia who seem to be killed for writing contradictory ideas.
    Corporate Nations are the only one who may speak freely. Blez U.S.A.

  109. 109 Gaurav in Singapore
    December 19, 2007 at 18:53

    The comments which anger, which aggravate, which insult and belittle and offend, are exactly the ones which need the most protection. Or what’s the point of freedom of speech? Everybody has the right to free speech, nobody has the right not to be offended. Libel law and laws against directly inciting speech – actually conspiring to harm or kill people – should be enough protection for anyone.

  110. 110 John in Salem
    December 19, 2007 at 18:54

    In the late 1960’s a widely respected American journalist, Walter Cronkite, spoke up on the evening news and condemned the war in Vietnam. If that were to happen today he would be denounced as anti-American and fired from the network.

    I feel that the press is hiding behind the principles of non-biased journalism out of fear of losing viewership.

  111. 111 Steve in Virginia
    December 19, 2007 at 18:55

    It’s funny when people make such generalizations about people. I’ve been listening to WHYS from the beginning, and when my local NPR station
    (WETA) stopped carrying the BBC, I got satellite radio, and listen to the BBC every single day, even though I don’t agree with many or most of the views I hear on it. I think the entire world media largely ignores Darfur for fear of upsetting the Arabs. It’s a shame nobody learned anything from the genocides of the past. We humans are, what can I say, hopeless. We never learn.

  112. 112 gary
    December 19, 2007 at 18:56

    Hello All,
    The BBC tells me more amount my country than any local service. Keep up the good work guys! The US networks are more concerned with forwarding the opinions of their CEO’s, boards of directors and owners.
    later,
    g

  113. 113 Terry in Boston
    December 19, 2007 at 18:56

    I live in Boston Massachusetts and I listen to BBC radio online every day while at work. I get frustrated sometimes because the BBC often seems like an arm of the palestinian government but I respect the reporting too much not to listen. Nobody does it better than the BBC.

  114. 114 Abi
    December 19, 2007 at 19:01

    News in America? What news? It’s really embarrassing to live in the so called free world, yet chained by our own ignorance and letting the US media to stray away as far as it has. However, this is not to take credit from PBS, C-SPAN and NPR.

  115. 115 CJ McAuley
    December 19, 2007 at 19:01

    These days, freedom of speech increasingly seems to be truly only in the eye of the beholder. Beyond the obvious, such as inciting violence or hatred or yelling “fire” for no reason, there should be no limit.
    I was also intrigued by several people claiming that “mainstream media” are letting down average people. IMHO, such people have not looked hard enough to find quality and incisive reporting, for it has always taken some work to inform oneself. In North America we have PBS, NPR, TVO and the CBC that continuously spend more time on stories than do such media outlets as ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. Anyone who thinks that they know what’s what in this world by only watching the previous 4 are in delusion. I must also say that I have never felt more informed and enlightened since I began listening to World Service and Radio4 and the rest of BBC on the internet eight years ago. I honestly cannot imagine a day without hearing any of the BBC on line anymore. Congratulations on 75 years and I hope there are many more!

  116. December 19, 2007 at 19:06

    Dear Sirs

    I am grateful for your special focus on freedom of speech, but I do feel many of your reporters are confusing the concept with the right to access media.

    ‘Freedom of speech’ is the right to say what you want without coming to harm. Your reporters are coming out with phrases like ‘censorship’, ‘bias in the media’ and ‘deserve to be heard’ as if freedom to speak implied a right to insist that media airs your voice. Quite the opposite. Freedom of speech applies to them, too. Media owners have the freedom to choose what is said in their media.

    By way of a concrete example, a Creationist has the right to speak his views, but that does not give him the right to teach those views in schools. Similarly, fascists have the right to believe what they believe, but allowing them to grace Oxford’s debating floor was not their right; it was a (poor) decision by the debating society.

    Sincerely
    Richard Hoptroff
    Paris, France

  117. 117 Claire
    December 19, 2007 at 19:06

    In regards to the teacher in Canada who was suspended for his views on gay rights:

    While I think that his views are discriminatory and disgusting, I don’t believe he should be suspended for peacefully making his views known outside of the classroom. In no way, however, should he be allowed to state his own views on the matter.

    A few years ago, I was in 8th grade and I had a French teacher who often digressed from the curiculum to ramble on about any subject he liked. As his students, we had no problem with that and liked the opportunity to have classroom discussions until it became clear that he had no interest in hearing opposing viewpoints. And as time went on, his ramblings got more and more personal and discriminartory. In our public school, we were troubled when he started to preach Christian doctrine to the class and protested quietly. But I drew the line when he started spewing anti-gay propaganda. I had a closeted gay friend come out to me earlier that year and he had to sit through the lectures about how God had destroyed the homosexuals in the Bible and therefore he would do it again, and that being gay was wrong and unnatural. He went on and on, going as far as saying that his two-year-old son would never be gay because he ‘would raise him right’, by whatever means.

    After a student was punished for standing up and calling the teacher a moron(admittedly not a good idea), I organized a Tolerance Day to promote tolerance to all people no matter what their sexuality. It snowballed into a Tolerance Month that was endorsed by our school director.

    The pain that my gay friend had to endure in that class everyday proves to me that teachers should not preach intolerance and discrimination in the classroom. The teacher in Canada has every right to say what he likes outside of school as long as it is within the law, but he must keep his personal views to himself on school property.

    Claire, American now in Germany.

  118. December 19, 2007 at 19:10

    I would say there was anything vicious about Islam if i was not in an Islamic country, because then i might get thrown in jail. But overall my problem is in its lack of sense of humor, as well as its treatment of women who violate dogmatic law as a violation of civil law. If a woman gets a taxi with a non-related male friend that in no way the same as stealing, or murder, or rape.

    On the other hand, do many Muslims have the right to say that as an American, and a heathen, I deserved to receive Allah’s just punishment? Of course. They don’t have the right to enact that punishment themselves, they should leave that to Allah, but they can “say” it all they want.

    I make negative comments about all religion all the time, and feel it is the healthiest way to respect the Faith instead of some ruling organization run by human beings. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Rastafarian – doesn’t matter, a belief is awesome, a RULING BODY GOVERNING IT is inherently flawed by human ego.

    The whole idea of freedom is the right to choose, and that means that you have the right to disagree, and to change the channel if you don’t like what is on.

    The moment anyone tries to silence someone else’s opinion, they only portray their FEAR that that opinion is more right than their own. (Yes, the Islamic ideals that dislike any derogatory remark against their religion and prophet only shows their FEAR that maybe they aren’t correct in their religious lifestyle.)

  119. 119 Jennifer Bannister
    December 19, 2007 at 19:11

    There should be no limit to freedom of speech except immediate danger, the classic example of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. There is a clear limitation of freedom of speech within the UK. There is a double standard for religious Christians speaking their minds in comparason to Muslims, for example a Christian preacher was arrested in England for saying homosexuality was immoral which is outlined in their Bible and an iman can say the same exact thing. I don’t believe homosexuality is immoral, but its their right to speak what they believe and I can ignore it or listen and argue with it. Saying something is immoral is not the same as calling for the deaths of a group of people, which again leads to IMMEDIATE danger and hence should not be allowed

    I see the Dutch cartoons and their publishers were brave because they were demonstrating they were not going to be be held hostage by another person’s religious beliefs. A non muslim cannot be called blasphemous against Islam! They clearly demonstrated the justifiable indemic fear of offending muslims, some of the illustrators still fear for their lives. Christianity has learned to deal with offensive depictions and Islam and other religions have to face the right of freedom of expression with out offering violence.

    by limiting peoples power of satire and freedom of expression it drives frustration and fear underground and further generates hate, racism and religious intolerance. Why are people so affraid of offense? That’s the point of freedom of expression, to question and quite frankly many questions are clearly offensive to people with definative set view points. A press that is afraid to offend is impotent.

    Jennifer

  120. 120 Steve
    December 19, 2007 at 19:13

    It’s funny when people make such generalizations about people. I’ve been listening to WHYS from the beginning, and when my local NPR station
    (WETA) stopped carrying the BBC, I got satellite radio, and listen to the BBC every single day, even though I don’t agree with many or most of the views I hear on it. I think the entire world media largely ignores Darfur for fear of upsetting the Arabs. It’s a shame nobody learned anything from the genocides of the past. We humans are, what can I say, hopeless. We never learn.

    Steve
    Virginia

  121. 121 Sean Kendrick
    December 19, 2007 at 19:15

    On average, no we don’t.
    There are quite a few American’s that like to actually hear the opposing viewpoint even if it is something they find offensive or contradictory to their own view. But in America, we are a bit full of ourselves, and because of that, some people – people I talk to frequently – don’t even want to hear opinions that disagree with their own even if it is from another American, let alone the rest of the world.
    Sean Kendrick
    Madison WI USA

  122. 122 Sarah
    December 19, 2007 at 19:15

    The line I would draw in cases of freedom of speech would be in situations that are similar to yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater -anything that would create chaos and injustice. The thing is, people can usually say what ever they want, but its how they say things. There are topics that require care in how we deal with them, or at least diplomacy, which is something that I find for the most part lacking in the world discourse.

  123. 123 Katrina Chappell
    December 19, 2007 at 19:15

    As a listener in Corvallis, Oregon, I can say that I sincerely appreciate having multiple international perspectives (including the
    BBC) within my media consumption.

  124. 124 Eliel
    December 19, 2007 at 19:17

    No I like Outside news, a few other people do as well. It is not majority. Majority US Citizens, love not knowing. They love being told what to think because it makes everything less complicated.
    Americans are not made up of a thinking nation. We have been convinced that we are the best in the world so we don’t care about other perspectives because we are “the best”. NPR isn’t that objective. Not nearly as objective as BBC.
    In US the best news sources are comedy based news shows and panel shows. Shows like Real Time with Bill Maher, or the Daily Show. Its sad that only comedians can cover the real news.
    Eliel From Brooklyn

  125. 125 Ray T. Mahorney
    December 19, 2007 at 19:17

    I disagree with the gentlemen in Texas we do not need greater regulation of the media. In the US, the fairness doctrine was tried for decades and it failed. The public does not want to hear a continuous drum beat of negativity and fear mongering but regulation is not the answer.
    Ray T. Mahorney

  126. 126 Tim B
    December 19, 2007 at 19:18

    It’s interesting to hear that you have David Irving on your programme speaking up for freedom of speech, considering that he tried to use the libel law to silence Deborah Lipstadt because she called him a Holocaust denier.

  127. December 19, 2007 at 19:20

    The FCC’s Kevin Martin just pushed through a vote 3-2 on party lines to expand media ownership in the US to allow broadcast owners to now own a daily paper in the top 20 markets, further consolidating our US corporate media. The US Congress has threatened to pass legislation to void this rule.

    Corporations have way too much influence on what is on “main stream” aka Corporate Media. They won’t let various issues come to light which may expose wrongdoing by their corporate advertisers (from mercury pollution by electricity providers to lead in Mattel toys). The US media is full of tabloid media and White House talking points. It’s no wonder the US ranked 37th in a world poll ranking countries’ free press. The US Media fail miserably in informing the population of important issues.

    Now that Rupert Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal, everyone should read this item:
    “The Man Who Rules the World” at The Moderate Independent
    http://tinyurl.com/2q9l2h
    The Most Powerful Man In America – And The World – Is One That You Never Get To Vote For, But Who Controls Who Gets Elected Or Not And What Laws Pass All Over The Globe
    by Ben F. Terton

    CONGRATS and HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY!!
    imbillorightsmanandiapprovethismessage
    in Cleveland, OH listening on WCPN 90.3 FM

  128. 128 Julius Gittens
    December 19, 2007 at 19:21

    I’ve noted quite a few rather cynical voices, particularly American ones. There is mainstream media not funded by commercial interests that Americans in particular do not listen to or watch, or want – e.g. Public Radio and Public Television – which millions in the developing world value, thanks to the Internet and imported programmes, like Sesame Street or MacNeil Lehrer Newshour. But they’re considered “boring” or “snooty” or “elitist”. People don’t need more media – we need more media education to consume – and produce media -that’s relevant, useful, helpful, inspiring and enlightening.

  129. 129 John
    December 19, 2007 at 19:22

    We used to have free speech in America. However the Bush regime put an end to it by promoting their propoganda for entering into the Iraqi war as well as outting CIA agent Valerie Plame whose husband refuted Bush’s claims of weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, the newspapers here reflect the political point of view of the owner who tend to be mostly of the Republican party. Also the Republicans have used tactics in the media to smear opponents like the swift boat veterans smearing John Kerry a true vietnam vet hero. I rely on the BBC for news.
    John in Cleveland.

  130. December 19, 2007 at 19:23

    What some people consider insult, other people consider humor.

    One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

    To require some “Official boundary” on what can be said or not said because of the possibility of “Insult”.

    Well it is INSULTING that people even feel it necessary to limit anyone speech. If i don’t like what someone says, I usually don’t hang around them much. And if they try to force the issue, then they’ve resorted to force, which equates to violence, and then civil law takes over.

  131. 131 Ben Salem
    December 19, 2007 at 19:24

    I think the ability of the very naive and ill informed Americans correlates directly to the area of coverage of unbiased media forms. Oregon has a great funding Public Radio Service, and for that reason it is very apparent that NPR, and public radio contrast directly with other forms of local reporting who disregard the aspect of contributing to the knowledge of those who want to be informed. You can sell individuals media, or you can allow them to investigate it unbiased for themselves, and I feel Public Radio achieves this.
    Ben L. Salem, Oregon

  132. December 19, 2007 at 19:24

    I’d be happy if we – Brazilians – had a reliable media like the BBC. Unfortunately our media is manipulated by interests of some people or organisations (usually by government) and do not show us the truth. I do prefer listening or watching international news than to our media.

  133. 133 Paula
    December 19, 2007 at 19:24

    Hi, Ros.. I’m sorry to say that it is true: Americans don’t listen to anything but American media. Anyone who has spent any amount of time overseas comes home to say the same thing: “you hear nothing about what’s happening in the rest of the world when you’re living in the U.S.” Part of the reason for this is that this news isn’t covered in mainstream media and part is because people often don’t know they can get the BBC or other world news agencies on the web or radio. Ignorance consists of not realizing all that you don’t know or are not being told. Paula in Oregon

  134. 134 Steve in USA
    December 19, 2007 at 19:24

    The people that only have a safety exception to free speech aren’t thinking this through. You could have someone completely destroy your reputation and career if someone makes false allegations about you if you have no means to challenge it. The means currently, suing someone for defamation will provide you with damages, assuming what the other person said is not true, because truth is an absolute defense. If this limit on free speech were not allowed, people would be destroyed just from an allegation. It could be you if you got into a position of power, be destroyed by someone’s baseless allegation. Libel/slander laws are very important and very necessary limits on free speech.

  135. 135 Ian Daley
    December 19, 2007 at 19:25

    First, I’d like to wish the BBC a happy birthday, today is also my birthday! Wish you the best, I listen to the World Service every morning!
    I heard the comment about the woman from the LSE who said Americans don’t listen to media outside the USA. I’ve travelled quite a bit and I would like to say, there are “townies”, people who don’t get out much, in every country I’ve been to (a little less than half the EU). America isn’t alone in this; in considering complex questions and asking another people to become exposed to different viewpoints, don’t allow your argument to lean on the crutch of simplistic generalizations. It is not helpful and it never will be; honestly, it makes a person sound kind of dumb. That said, I do think everyone, in all countries should do their best to free their mind, listen and learn …
    I would like to say our domestic news is awful, Fox News is but one major disgrace; it is more a tabloid than a real source of news, the New York Post on television. If you watch American news on television, it’s a bunch of talking heads screaming over each other, tossing one liners between commercials.
    In the aftermath of 9/11 and the lead up to the Iraq War (Judith Miller is but one example), our domestic media was terrible and I think it is directly culpable for influencing domestic opinion to support Bush’s idiotic experiment in Iraq.

  136. 136 Eric
    December 19, 2007 at 19:26

    Views that insult other people’s religion should be expressed, because all religions are just different flavors of the same delusional, superstitious thinking. And even if they were not, the insult is created in the mind of the the person perceiving it, not by the person who is voicing his opinion.

    However, people who espouse oppression, maltreatment or enslavement of others — who espouse intolerance of people who are different than they are in sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion — those kinds of people should be silenced.

    Intolerant people who refuse to live in harmony with others, despite the others’ best efforts, should themselves not be tolerated, and should not be given any forum for their destructive ideas. They poison unformed and young the minds and ensure the perpetuation of the mess we find ourselves in.

  137. 137 Lubna in Baghdad
    December 19, 2007 at 19:26

    Dearest Ros: What a supermarvellous eddition of WHYS tonight! About the matter of freedom of speech: If you don’t agree with “them”, then debate “them” instead of raising your fist in their faces! With my love! Lubna!

  138. 138 Debbie
    December 19, 2007 at 19:27

    In America the Federal Communications Commission just allowed expansion of ownership of small media outlets (radio, newspapers) by a few big companies despite the overwhelming comments of the public that big media dilutes (if they report at all) local issues. In my own case, the local radio station was recently bought by a big media company. We hear one hour of local issues in the morning as a talk show and the rest of the day is programmed with the same taped music over and over and over peppered with national news.
    People have to seek out a wide variety of viewpoints outside the mainstream media and think for themselves. This is one reason I listen to my local public radio station, although I am disturbed by trends that have been adopted by them as well that seem to mimic the format of main stream media.
    Debbie Washington State

  139. 139 Rochelle Woodruff
    December 19, 2007 at 19:28

    My husband and I watch and listen to the BBC every day. I couldn’t say the news has let us down, but I would say 90% of the news that American channels choose to air seems to demean the intelligence of the watchers.
    A good example, this morning there was a piece on a 16 year old entertainer who is pregnant, without any outrage. Instead of airing the information on Kurdish soldiers.
    So, we choose to turn off American News and watch world news through the aspects of BBC, or other foreign outlets.
    Rochelle Woodruff
    Roseville, California

  140. 140 Yogesh in Aylesbury, U.K.
    December 19, 2007 at 19:29

    Freedom of speech enables us correct blunders someone would be making.

    I believe that freedom of speech is constructive if it is agains views, thought or idea but destructive if it is supposed to be degrading individuals.

    I hope this makes sense.

  141. 141 Diepiriye
    December 19, 2007 at 19:29

    I LOVE the worldservice, but the fact is that most of its listeners are around the globe, in warm and southern nations, yet the worldservice, admittedly worlds better than mainstream media, still portrays Africa as poor and corrupt, India and China battling for favorite Asian economy, but still YOU, the BBC still posit America, it’s politics, people and culture as the measuring stick for everyone else. In that way, you cannot be progressive because ultimately you regurgitate the status quo.Still you’re better than the rest, which is why I’m still listening!

  142. 142 Ayo in the US
    December 19, 2007 at 19:30

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH SHOULD BE LIMITED WHEN IT COMES TO RACE, SEX, RELIGION OR LIFE. IT SHOULD ONLY TALK ABOUT KITTY CATS AND TEDDY BEARS. OOOPS FORGET TEDDY BEARS, SOME PEOPLE MAY TAKE OFFENSE. MY POINT IS, IF ITS NECESSARY TO REVEAL A FACT DO SO RESPECTFULLY, ALMOST ANYTHING CAN BE SAID WHEN SAID RESPECTFULLY

  143. 143 Frank Tramer
    December 19, 2007 at 19:30

    I would like it known that although the media must to be free from Government and Corporate influences it also must to police it’s self. Here in the United States we are increasingly only getting a slanted version of the news from our Media outlets. The individual Owners and Media Corporations are directly influencing, by direction or turning a blind eye to their employees actions, the information that is provided to the public. Nowhere is this more evident than the Media’s reporting on the election process and any story that may be slanted in order to provide their party with an advantage. If you cannot police yourselves, than how can you expect to be fully trusted by the public! The roll and the goal of the Media should be to only report the facts and not to interject an individual’s opinion of those facts. There are radio & TV shows and columns in which that type of reporting is the proper venue and it should not be allowed anywhere else.

  144. 144 Steve in the US
    December 19, 2007 at 19:31

    I’m for pretty much all speech except some of rules we have in the US. I don’t think even obscene speech should be forbidden. However for public safety one should not be allowed to incite violence, one should not be able to defame someone, and one should not be able to shout fire in a crowded theater unless there is actually a fire. If we forbid “offending” people then nobody would be allowed to say anything because some people have such thin skin that everyone could be offended by anything. You don’t have a right to live life free of being offended.
    However you have a right to not have some publish falsehoods about you that affect your reputation.

  145. 145 Nate Gulley
    December 19, 2007 at 19:31

    I am both from Cleveland and attend University in Oregon, so thanks for the recognition. However, I’d be willing to bet you could count on your fingers and toes the number of people my age stateside tuning into the BBC or even our own NPR. I think the shortcomings of our mainstream media reflect the simplicity of our two-party political system. The idea here is that if a “liberal view” and a “conservative view” are each provided, that amounts to covering the news, as if there aren’t more than two sides to any issue.
    There isn’t any reason that, even here in America, corporate interest couldn’t be limited in favor of news reporting. I am fairly convinced that people abroad know more about the continuing injustice in New Orleans than folks here at home.
    Nate

  146. 146 Denis
    December 19, 2007 at 19:32

    New technologies open up new avenues for us all to communicate louder and wider, but let’s not forget how big a carbon footprint all these technologies are making.I live in one of the most modern and sophisticated countries in the world, but since the BBC cut back on its shortwave radio broadcast commitments, I have no choice but to turn on computer, screen, router, etc. to tune into your fine service. I used to tuck into bed with the old low-power battery radio on the bedside table, and listen to you before falling asleep, or waking up in the morning.The computer’s too big for the bedside table…
    Denis Guiet, a Canadian who lives in Fribourg, Switzerland.

  147. 147 John D. Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 19:33

    I feel there should be no limits on freedom of speech as long as I retain the freedom to ignore.

    John in Salem

  148. 148 Ousman
    December 19, 2007 at 19:34

    Hello!, Happy Birth Day!!
    You are free to say anything you want as far as that does not harm any one, when it harms any one, you have no right to say that.
    But of course this will not apply to any one who harms some one before. what she/he got back from the harmed one is not harm respectively,but it is rather retaliation.

  149. 149 Steve
    December 19, 2007 at 19:35

    To compare a cartoon to the holocaust is really insulting. That your arabic readers are that offended by a cartoon really makes me think they need to grow a backbone. It’s CARTOON. Even the Nazis admitted they conducted the holocaust. They have detailed records. If you want to deny it, go ahead, but I’ll remind you, Jews won’t go out burning down embassies and threatening to kill people or issuing fatwas. Remember, the whole world was watching and will not forget.
    Steve USA

  150. 150 AJay
    December 19, 2007 at 19:35

    Dear WHYS,

    Freedom of speech is by definition and every tenet of logic, absolute. The expression of some ideas may be horrid and revolting to me or you or 99% of the populace, but it mustn’t be muzzled.

    We learn from our enemies, and today’s crackpot may be next week’s prophet.

    Free is free.

    Happy anniversary.

  151. 151 Mr Ison
    December 19, 2007 at 19:35

    C’mon Mr Irving,get a word in edgewise.

  152. 152 Chris
    December 19, 2007 at 19:36

    The biggest recent let down of the people by mainstream media occurred in America, as the run up to the war in Iraq was being put upon us.
    Institutions as venerable as The New York Times used their front page to rally behind the Bush administration without question. Then when it was discovered that their top Iraq reported, Judith Miller, was just passing along the party line about WMD, they buried an apology in the back pages. By then the damage was already done and the entire world is still paying the price for their failure
    Chris DeLorenzo –Portland Oregon

  153. 153 Anne Cherie
    December 19, 2007 at 19:38

    The question is begin asked, where do you draw the line.”Freedom” in itself is not absolute, there is no one person that is absolute free, in my belief, but we all have freewill. We therefore free to choose of the choices that are presented to us.As my lecturer once told me, a guideline I think all people, especially journalist should abide by, is that “my rights end where your’s begin”. We can say that which we need to say to the point where one is not imposing on another. This will provide an allowance for all parts to be heard.I also must emphasize that it’s not what you say but how you say it.We speak so that others will hear, and if no-one is there to here, then there is no need to speak. We speak because we want to be heard, but where another is unwilling to hear, we should not force our opinions upon them. Hence, one person’s right ends where another person’s begin. Freedom of speech comes with responsibility, and people must accept the consequences what they say, else they have no opinion to share.

  154. 154 Ted Freeman
    December 19, 2007 at 19:40

    I’m American and freedom of speech is a particularly dear topic to American. We wave the flag of freedom of speech whenever comparing ourselves to the rest of the world. However, I think the ideal of freedom of speech is impossible to achieve. The FCC here in the US keeps us “safe” from inoffensive language and effectly puts a strangle hold on what can or cannot be said.

  155. 155 John in Salem
    December 19, 2007 at 19:40

    I feel there should be no limits on freedom of speech as long as I can retain the freedom to ignore.

  156. 156 John Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 19:41

    I feel there should be no limits on freedom of speech as long as I can retain the freedom to ignore.
    John in Salem

  157. 157 Lubna in Baghdad
    December 19, 2007 at 19:41

    Dear Ros: In Iraq, being a journalist is just like being forced to walk in a mine field! Can a journalist reveal the truth properly if he/she is walking in a mine field?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BBC World Service! Thank you! With my love! Lubna!

  158. 158 Janai Calluy
    December 19, 2007 at 19:42

    Hi evereybody,

    The fact that you will moderate this before it appears on the blog indicates the BBC has some boundaries on freedom of speech.

    I think you can say evereything as long as you don’t incite hatred, or harm anybody in an unfair way.

    The Mohammed cartoons for instance were justified since we live in a secular society and a cartoon is satire…
    If David Irwing wants to think and say the holocaust did not happen or wa

  159. 159 AJay
    December 19, 2007 at 19:42

    Happy anniversary.

    Here in the US, the major networks break out thusly: CBS is owned by Westinghouse. NBC is owned by General Electric. Each of these parent companies is on on defence contractor, among other things.

    ABC is owned by the Disney conglomerate, and often is little more than a promotional machine.

    FOX is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Say no more …

    US press? Thank God for the BBC!

  160. 160 Steve
    December 19, 2007 at 19:43

    That’s funny and typical of the PC left, suspended someone because they don’t share the same views. It reminds me of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport in Washington State, where they banned christmas decorations for the possibility that someone “might” be offended. We live in a backboneless society. People need to grow up, and grow a pair, and realize you cannot get through life without being offended.
    Steve in the USA

  161. 161 Ayo in the US
    December 19, 2007 at 19:43

    What are you to say about American local journalism? You need to listen to the local news to understand how unprofessional Journalists in the US can be. For instance, I never understood how a weather girl with little knowledge of the world except mimicking information given to her about the weather could become a legitimate news presenter. I always used to wonder why local citizens were so ignorant and silly, but until I became confined to watching public TV, I never knew how much the media contributes to public ignorance. When it comes to the middle- east all they show is war, you would never know that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were rich stable countries. You would think South Africa was part of Portugal, Central Africa was merely Jungle with hardly any people, and Europe was full of gays. That’s local media for you. When I stopped watching Local TV, I know My IQ went back to its former degree. My point is in Journalism right now, the same criteria that gets a Fashion model her job applies i.e. beauty, Not the same criteria required of a brain surgeon which is intelligence.

  162. 162 Tracy
    December 19, 2007 at 19:45

    Freedom of speech/expression should go both ways as that is the only way it would be deemed fair for all. If a person feels to express his freedom on one way, he should also be open to the fact that others have the same right to retaliate in the way they want to.

  163. 163 Eliel in the US
    December 19, 2007 at 19:45

    Re: Media withholding information to protect
    Never
    Ever!

    If the media takes the stance that they should hold a piece of news for one reason or another, they blur the line of truth and control. I don’t want to be lied to. I don’t want others to determine what news will hurt me. Tell me and I’ll make the decision. Let people rise up and burn buildings down if they feel that its needed. This is how revolution and Change can happen.

  164. 164 Janai Calluy
    December 19, 2007 at 19:46

    (part II)

    …or wants to minimalise it he can do that for me. It’s my freedom to say that I think Mr. Irwing is a nutter because the proof of the holocaust is overwhelming.
    It is my freedom not to agree with him or any other opinion.
    Freedom of speech should be absolute because when you are inciting hatred or something like that you can be arrested for this.
    Uttering your own opinion should be possible without boundaries.

    Cheers Janai, Belgium.

  165. 165 Eliel Lucero
    December 19, 2007 at 19:46

    Never Ever!If the media takes the stance that they should hold a piece of news for one reason or another, they blur the line of truth and control. I don’t want to be lied to. I don’t want others to determine what news will hurt me. Tell me and I’ll make the decision. Let people rise up and burn buildings down if they feel that its needed. This is how revolution and Change can happen.

  166. 166 Mr Ison
    December 19, 2007 at 19:47

    Lying to start a series of wars is quite dangerous,i think we all see the truth of that.

  167. 167 Ousman in Cairo, Egypt
    December 19, 2007 at 19:47

    Please start from yourself first!!!
    In answering to your question, yes! you all let us down! You are all working for the very interest of your masters, nothing more.

  168. 168 Ayodeji Oni
    December 19, 2007 at 19:48

    What are you to say about American local journalism? You need to listen to the local news to understand how unprofessional Journalists in the US can be. For instance, I never understood how a weather girl with little knowledge of the world except mimicking information given to her about the weather could become a legitimate news presenter. I always used to wonder why local citizens were so ignorant and silly, but until I became confined to watching public TV, I never knew how much the media contributes to public ignorance. When it comes to the middle- east all they show is war, you would never know that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were rich stable countries. You would think South Africa was part of Portugal, Central Africa was merely Jungle with hardly any people, and Europe was full of gays. That’s local media for you. When I stopped watching Local TV, I know My IQ went back to its former degree. My point is in Journalism right now, the same criteria that gets a Fashion model her job applies i.e. beauty, Not the same criteria required of a brain surgeon which is intelligence.

  169. December 19, 2007 at 19:50

    People have the right to speak freely with out consequence so long as it causes no physical or financial damage to anybody else. (I.E you can’t incite violence, and you can’t slander.) People do not have the right not to be offended. I am sorry if your feelings are hurt, grow up, and shake it off.

    As we can see “being offended” is too wide of a target and can be used to clip the wings of free speech. Somebody might get offended if you don’t stop children from calling a teddy bear by the wrong name.

  170. 170 Joe Serrano
    December 19, 2007 at 19:50

    Interesting debate.
    But, what is freedom of speech?
    In the times before globalisation I am sure in this western world we probably had a great deal of freedom of speech as western journalists were writng for and worried about western readers and listeners. However today, the internet, globablization, immigration has created a world market with such a diversity of cultures and views that are interculturally mixed. Religion, politics and culture are so interconnected in Islamic nations for example makes freedom of speech in our western sense next to impossible. A look at our own history is more than sufficient should we require more.
    In the so-called third world, freedom of speech I am sure is a myth as many of these societies are enslaved in a system which ties them to a subsistance economy.

    To talk about limits, the whole journalistic process is biased by our own personal views or the interest of the man who pays the checks. Internet offers true freedom of speech. It is a question of surfing the net. Do we want child pornography, videos of murders, rape, etc in our homes. That is real freedom of speech.

    I have found many of the comments on this programme extremely offensive which I am sure would not have a voice in mainstream media.

  171. 171 Lubna
    December 19, 2007 at 19:50

    Dear Ros: In Iraq, being a journalist is just like being forced to walk in a mine field! Can a journalist reveal the truth properly if he/she is walking in a mine field?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BBC World Service!

  172. 172 Bobby
    December 19, 2007 at 19:51

    The question of objectivity of news is circumscribed by varying degrees of subjectivity.Having said that,news reporting can be viewed as being within an objective range,and that is what the media should strive for.

    I believe the media ,and people should have complete freedom of speech subject only to the injunctions proscribed by law (such as incitement to violence },including the freedom to offend.And this includes the freedom to criticise religious dogma,something which is almost alien due to fear of fanatical retribution.Of course I don’t expect one can say anything in the classroom(as in the case of the Canadian teacher) – one’s job may demand certain patterns of behaviours.

    I can safely say that I get the most balanced news coverage from the BBC World Serice,and I am exposed to the splurge of cable.

  173. 173 Jennifer Banister
    December 19, 2007 at 19:52

    There should be no limit to freedom of speech except immediate danger, the classic example of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. There is a clear limitation of freedom of speech within the UK. There is a double standard for religious Christians speaking their minds in comparason to Muslims, for example a Christian preacher was arrested in England for saying homosexuality was immoral which is outlined in their Bible and an iman can say the same exact thing. I don’t believe homosexuality is immoral, but its their right to speak what they believe and I can ignore it or listen and argue with it. Saying something is immoral is not the same as calling for the deaths of a group of people, which again leads to IMMEDIATE danger and hence should not be allowed

    I see the Dutch cartoons and their publishers were brave because they were demonstrating they were not going to be be held hostage by another person’s religious beliefs. A non muslim cannot be called blasphemous against Islam! They clearly demonstrated the justifiable indemic fear of offending muslims, some of the illustrators still fear for their lives. Christianity has learned to deal with offensive depictions and Islam and other religions have to face the right of freedom of expression with out offering violence.

    by limiting peoples power of satire and freedom of expression it drives frustration and fear underground and further generates hate, racism and religious intolerance. Why are people so affraid of offense? That’s the point of freedom of expression, to question and quite frankly many questions are clearly offensive to people with definative set view points. A press that is afraid to offend is impotent.

    I would love to talk on air too!

    Best,
    Jennifer Banister
    Mount Pleasant, MI USA

  174. 174 Yogesh Raja
    December 19, 2007 at 19:53

    I believe that freedom of speech is constructive if it is agains views, thought or idea but destructive if it is supposed to be degrading individuals.
    Yogesh Raja from Aylesbury, U.K.

  175. 175 Eliel in the US
    December 19, 2007 at 19:54

    The world is too damn sensitive. Say what you like. Everyone. talk about whoever however. People have to stop taking other peoples words so seriously.

  176. 176 Steve
    December 19, 2007 at 19:55

    I’m for pretty much all speech except some of rules we have in the US. I don’t think even obscene speech should be forbidden. However for public safety one should not be allowed to incite violence, one should not be able to defame someone, and one should not be able to shout fire in a crowded theater unless there is actually a fire. If we forbid “offending” people then nobody would be allowed to say anything because some people have such thin skin that everyone could be offended by anything. You don’t have a right to live life free of being offended.However you have a right to not have some publish falsehoods about you that affect your reputation.
    Steve–USA

  177. 177 Jimmy in Glasgow
    December 19, 2007 at 19:55

    I wish to object to the fact that the BBC World Service invited David Irving, the holocaust denier and fascist, onto the programme “World Have Your Say” tonight. A publicly funded body giving a platform to someone with his views will only serve to legitimise these hateful and dangerous opinions.

    Please record my objection to this decision.

  178. 178 Steve in USA
    December 19, 2007 at 19:57

    Anyone who straps on a bomb and blows themselves up amongst civilians is evil. If you cannot see it, then please jump off the nearest bridge because you are a threat to everyone else.

  179. 179 Gaurav in Singapore
    December 19, 2007 at 19:57

    Yay! Thanks for a fantastic two hours with WHYS! Congratulations on a fine show, good guests, great discussion, and a fantastic poem to end it all with :).

  180. 180 viola anderson
    December 19, 2007 at 19:57

    Whew! Great debate. Great passion. A little censorship is like a little pregnant. You have it or you don’t. You are or you aren’t. Censorship can be compared to abortion. Have a censored society, either self-inflicted or imposed from outside, and you will never have the birth of new ideas; you know, the ones that actually lead to peace and tolerance.

  181. 181 Emman Komla
    December 19, 2007 at 19:58

    I do not believe that there can be freedom of the press so long as we have powerful and influential groups and individuals because their interests will always have some impact on what is reported and what is not.

    Objectivity in media reporting is an utopia so long as different societies, groups and individuals have different values, beliefs and traditions. Our values, beliefs, and traditions make us report about the same things in different ways.

    Thanks,
    Emman komla
    Accra, Ghana

  182. 182 Steve in USA
    December 19, 2007 at 20:01

    While I personally believe David Irving should be free to deny the holocaust all he likes, because the only people he will convince are probably not too bright, or wear tinfoil hats, debating whether the holocaust happened is like debating whether the earth is round or not.
    Even the nazis admitted to it.. It seems the only people who support discussing whether the holocaust happened are either nazi sympathisers or people who want to try to deligitimize Israel.

  183. 183 Reed
    December 19, 2007 at 20:20

    The belligerent American radio host who called in to WHYS Dec. 19 at approximately 7:50 GMT is, unfortunately, symbolic of the idiots who currently have control of the media and the government. (I’ve never heard of him despite his claim of being the biggest show in America.) Too many narrow minded and ignorant Americans have taken their cue from Mr. Bush and simplistically believe that things really can be divided into black and white, good and evil. The states are in a frighteningly regressive period where those with the least intelligence make the most noise and the politicians think that those are the people to appease in order to be re-elected. The “creationist” versus “evolution” argument that brews across this country is a symbol of the truly incredible ignorance that is ruining this previously great country.

  184. 184 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 19, 2007 at 21:30

    No doubt Technology advancemet is super compairing to our journalism, the reason of contiminated journalism is our broughtup in Democratic society & culture with out essence of real Democracy.
    We have to bring honesty & impartiality in our journalism, which enable us along with future generation’s to stood with dignity being a journalist.
    Political issues are temporary compairing to Social Democratic issues which may not be resolved with out a team work.

  185. 186 Zerosopher
    December 20, 2007 at 06:46

    Hi,

    Oxy-monorism vs relativity or boundary
    The universe we live in runs in relative to the absolute universe.
    The essence of Einstein’s’ theory of relativity is that everything in this relative world has a boundary or circle around it. Having ‘freedom of speech except about this or more precisely except in a sensible way on anything’ is not equivalent to being oxy-monoric. Being oxy-monoric is being internally dysfunctional resulting from internal conflicts. Oxy-monorism is a conceptual defect within a concept to the extent it makes the concept ineffective.

    Having ‘a circle around’ or ‘a boundary of sense, of objectivity and of knowledge’ is not being dysfunctional. Rather such universal boundaries are prerequisites of any concept of this world being functional and effective.

    Speech, indeed, is equivalent to ‘action’. Even in legal sense ‘silence’ or ‘no speech’ or ‘no action’ is also a kind of action. Depending upon who delivers a speech determines the gravity of the action of a speech. Sometimes the person who delivers might not have ‘authority’ on his own but the action still become can become very much significant especially when the action comes via a media, which is regarded as significant.

    Therefore, Freedom of speech should still be only sensible. It should not be anything about everything. Freedom of speech should not mean chaos and hatred.

    Many thanks,

  186. 187 David Catleugh
    December 20, 2007 at 07:55

    I was delighted with your decision to invite David Irving onto your program. It is entirely valid for him to have a view on freedom of speech, as so many people have tried to remove his. He is an ,often misquoted and much misunderstood individual, who has never broken any law in his own country. I wonder how many of the people who try to stop him being heard have actually read any of his work (he does not, for example, deny that a large number, almost certainly millions, of Jews died in WW2). I agree with Eric, if you are going to criticize Mr. Irving’s work, then please quote the exact passages that you find offensive (you can download his books in PDF form, free of charge, from his web site. It is no good granting him the freedom of speech, while at the same time trying to stop me listening to him. Are you SO more intelligent than I am? Perhaps BBC Television stations in the UK should take a page out of the World Service’s book and invite him onto Question Time, or Newsnight.
    David Catleugh,
    England -UK

  187. 188 Zerosopher
    December 20, 2007 at 13:49

    Hi,

    Correcting myself.
    In my 20 Dec ’07, post ~-monoric or monorism should be ~-moronic or moronism respectively. Sorry for confusing.

    Thanks,

  188. 189 Xie_Ming
    December 20, 2007 at 16:42

    May the BBC continue to try to be a beacon of truth in a darkening World.

    Let Milibrand and like Blair clones submerge in the pound notes that overwhelm their lives!

  189. 190 Banks
    December 20, 2007 at 17:43

    Appreciate very much being on your broadcast, today, at such an auspicious moment in the history of BBC – the very #1 best broadcaster of all. Bar none.
    Thanks again………[ I’ve been with you guys since I lived in the jungles of southern India in the early 1970’s….”This..is London” coming in a very crackling and fading reception as the monsoon rains poured down, and believe you me, you were truly a Godsend. And I’ve stuck with you ever since. When people come in my house, if by chance you’re not on, they look around as if something’s missing, and they’re right! Please don’t fade, but even worse, please – puh-leez!! – don’t even think of becoming all sparkly and cosmetic, like some (All!) of your International competitors. The BBC truly has no competitors, such is it’s command of the journalistic high ground. God Bless
    Banks (B.S.Pitt) Amsterdam

  190. 191 Paulina Sarah Moore Donald
    December 20, 2007 at 17:55

    I absolutely object to you using my license fee to give a platform to David Irving’s criminal anti-semitic point of view.

  191. 192 Hector Fraticelli, Jr.
    December 20, 2007 at 18:04

    I would like to wish the BBC a very Happy 75th Anniversary. I have listened to the BBC World Service via shortwave or satellite radio here in the USA since 1988. I remember listening to Owen Bennett-Jones through the years, and am happy to listen to him present the news today. I also remember listening to Fiona MacDonald as well. Is Ms Fiona MacDonald still at the BBC? Wishing the best to the BBC in the future.
    Hector Fraticelli, Jr.
    West Covina, California (near Los Angeles, CA).

  192. 193 Devadas
    December 20, 2007 at 18:09

    WHY SIDELINING THIS PEOPLE?
    FREEDOM OF SPEECH MUST BE FOR EVERYINDIVIDUAL BORN ON EARTH AND AFTER THEIR EXPRESSION WE CAN DEBATE ABOUT IT THAT WAY WORLD WOULD BE A NICER PLACE TO LIVE .WHY CUBA WHICH IS UNDER ECONOMIC EMBARGO FOR 40 YEARS NOT COVERED IN THE ATTROCITIES COMMITTED TO THEM BY COUNTRY PROMINENTLY COVERED EVEN BY BBC IN THIS TIME OF OPENING UP OF BORDERS FOR FREE MARKET . IN THE 75TH BIRTHDAY OF BBC CUBA WAS DENIED PERMISSION TO PLAY IN STANFORD CUP 20;20 CRICKET TOURNAMENT IN WESTINDIES ?STILL HAPPENING IN THIS 21ST CENTURY IS INDEED DISGUSTING AND BBC DOESNT MENTION EVEN IN ITS SPORTS NEWS SHOWS WHICH SIDE ITS ALSO BUTTERED .PLEASE LET THEM HAVE THEIR SAY THROUGH BBC AND IF BBC CONVEYS THEIR ANGUISH AND ALL OTHERS WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM THIS KIND OF RESTRICTIONS ONLY THEN BBC CAN CLAIM THAT THEY ARE INDEED AN HONEST,AND INDEPENDENT RADIO KEEPING THEIR INTEGRITY ALL THROUGH THIS 75 YEARS OF GREAT TURBULANCE .I WANT TO SUM UP THIS FREEDOM OF SPEECH DISCUSSION INTO THIS WORDS ; ‘ITS BETTER TO DEBATE A POINT AND LEAVE IT UNANSWERED RATHER THAN ANSWERING IT WITHOUT DEBATING”.
    ONCE MORE WISHING A VERY HAPPY 75TH BIRTHDAY FOR ALL AT BBC AND LET ME KNOW THE CHAMPAGNE MOMENT OF THIS 75TH YEAR.

    DEVADAS.V
    KERALA
    INDIA

  193. 194 Lorraine Barrie
    December 20, 2007 at 18:20

    Dear Sirs

    I am writing to complain about your decision to invite David Irvine onto your show. Giving facists a platform on a respected show gives legitimacy to his opinions, which is never acceptable. I would like to hear an anti-racist campaigner on your show, no someone who denies the holocaust! I wonder what millions of families around the world whose relatives were murdered by Hitler will think of this invitation.

    When I lived abroad about 5 years ago i listened to the World Service every day and I am still an occassional listener. I have always held the belief that the World Service was fair, impartial and educational- this reputation will be tarnished if you allow David Irvine on your show.

    Thank you for your kind attention.

    Yours,

    Lorraine Barrie

  194. 195 Chawezi Phiri
    December 20, 2007 at 18:22

    HELLO PETER DOBBIE AND EVERYONE AT WHYS STUDIOS IN LONDON, ITS RAINING HERE IN LILONGWE, MALAWI AND THERE IS THIS ZUMA VERSUS MBEKI ISSUE AND ZUMA VERSUS THE STATE AND ZUMA VERSUS ANC AND ZUMA VERSUS SOUTH AFRICANS. WHAT A STORY TO TELL AND WHAT HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE HERE. ITS QUITE INTERESTING AS THINGS UNFOLD FROM ZUMA’S CLOSSET AND THE NATIONAL PROSECUTOR’S CLOSSET.

    THIS IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY IN AFRICAN POLITICS. ITS EVERYWHERE IN AFRICA WHERE THE RULING TRIES TO PUT A SILENT DEATH TO THE PEOPLE THEY FEAR OR FEEL CAN WRESTLE POWER FROM THEIR HANDS. WHAT A FIEFDOM OF POWER IS MBEKI TRYING TO BUILD FOR HIMSELF?

    ZUMA WILL BE AS GOOD AS NELSON MANDELA FOR SOUTH AFRICANS AND THE REST OF AFRICA. WHY IS MBEKI AFRAID OF HIM? MBEKI KNOWS ZUMA HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE NEXT THIRD POST-APARTHEID PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. ZUMA IS ONE OF THE CREME DE CREME OF LEADERS IN AFRICA AND THE WORLD OVER.

    MBEKI IS LIKE TRYING TO RIDE ON THE COAT-TAIL OVER WHAT HAS POPULARLY BECOME AS TRAMPLE CHARGES IN AFRICA OVER THEIR POLITICAL HEAVY OPPONENTS.
    ITS NOT AN UNKNOWN STORY TODAY TO SAY ZUMA HAS IMMINENT CHARGES AGAINST CORRUPTION. EVERYBODY KNOWS ON THE CONTINENT THAT ZUMA WAS INVOLVED IN THE MALPRACTICE AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT FAILED TO BRING HIM TO BOOK – NOW WE ARE HALFWAY THRU TO ELECTIONS AND THEY BRINGING THESE ISSUES – CAN SOMEONE IN THE ANC ASK WHY AND WHY NOW?
    ITS THE SAME THING HERE IN MY COUNTRY MALAWI AND ELSE WHERE IN NIGERIA SUCH KIND OF THING HAPPENED AND IS HAPPENING.
    THE WHYS BANDWAGON SHOULD STOP AT ME HERE IN MALAWI AND TAKE ME ON BOARD.
    CIAO!
    CHAWEZI PHIRI
    LILONGWE, MALAWI.

  195. 196 Christian
    December 20, 2007 at 18:24

    Hello to Ros and the rest of the WHYS family worldwide.
    I think the situation in S.A. is alarming especially in the ANC.They are now enjoying what others payed a very high price with and seem not to realise it.
    To me the dilemma is not even whether Mr.Zuma will be good for S.A. but HOW DID HE FIND HIMSELF THE LEADER OF THE ANC?

    Christian

  196. 197 Isaac
    December 20, 2007 at 18:31

    Hi,

    What surprises me with law enforcing institutes is that they have not talked about the corrupt charges against Mr. Zuma all this time. Why only now that he has become president of ANC? Is this intended to tarnish his image so that he cannot become a leader of south africa one day. If they have enough evidence to bring someone before the law why wait so long? One is just left in doubt whether these are not just dirty politics. As a person I think he can make a good president afterall he was deputy president to Mr. Mbeki. He has already experience how to govern and rule. The habit of looking at someones face for leadership is not good and unacceptable. What matters are leadership qualities and how ones performs. The best thing is to leave this to the South Africa voters to vote and choose who shal l rule them after Mandela and Mbeki. For the party delegates to settle for Zuma they must have been something they saw in Mr.Mbeki which dont please them anymore to lead the party.

    Isaac

  197. 198 Ahmed Ali
    December 20, 2007 at 18:33

    Hi DEAR BBC i belieive mr zuma will be good leader 4 south african people here in kenya many people beleive he will be good leader
    AHMED ALI NAIROBI KENYA THANK U!

  198. 199 Cashore Deigh
    December 20, 2007 at 18:34

    S.Africa is practically a one-party state. The present economic woes of most African countries is a consequ. of the one-par constitu. adopted during the cold war. The sooner the A.N.C. splits the better it is for S.Africa.
    From Cashore Deigh, Sierra Leone

  199. 200 Sekyi
    December 20, 2007 at 18:34

    Jacob Zuma can deliver so leave him alone
    Sekyi,Ghana

  200. 201 Mansour
    December 20, 2007 at 18:35

    I AM PLEASE WITH THE NEW ANC LEADER HE IS HONEST, INTELLECTUAL AND PERFECT. FROM MANSOUR OF MONROVIA.

  201. 202 Michael Lawson
    December 20, 2007 at 18:37

    I dont think Zuma deserves to be leader of the Anc let alone south africa. Shame on the delegates who voted for him. Souuh African will be a laughing stock if Zuma becomes president.
    Michael Lawson, Ghana

  202. 203 Ademba
    December 20, 2007 at 18:37

    Zuma just like he said can cross bridges if any planed surely he will jump this time. democracy is rule of the majority his party has said he is good i believe he is good.
    Ademba, dar es salaam tanzania

  203. 204 Banks
    December 20, 2007 at 18:38

    Poor S.A. After so many years, it s now sliding down off the moral high ground. Personal politics engender rot at the center, spreading out through the whole society.
    Banks in Amsterdam

  204. 205 Stephen Ajayi
    December 20, 2007 at 18:38

    If the charges against Zuma are true, the implications for South Africa are grave.
    From Stephen Ajayi in Abuja

  205. 206 Shawulu
    December 20, 2007 at 18:39

    Zuma did win, i believe. But the problem is with African leaders not wanting to relinguish positions. Remember Obasanjo/Atiku saga?
    Shawulu in Nigera.

  206. 207 Thumbiko Mhango
    December 20, 2007 at 18:53

    Jacobs Zuma has been actively involved with South African Polics from the age of 16,definately he is the right man to lead S.Africans.
    Thumbiko Mhango,Lilongwe,Malawi.

  207. 208 J G Maina
    December 20, 2007 at 18:53

    i am sure very large number of STH AFRICAN women voted him to victory.Any MAN who gets womens confidence is good: &so ZUMA is good.
    j g maina, nairobi kenya

  208. 209 Yusuf
    December 20, 2007 at 18:54

    He will make a good leader thats why he won, In africa it’s not easy to defeat an incumbant leader,contrats S Africans Nigerians note,
    yusuf from yobe state NGR.

  209. 210 Kapi
    December 20, 2007 at 18:55

    Is ANC putting Zuma into power or Zuma is putting ANC into power? It’s time Africans reliase the importance of not only oratory skils but character as well. KAPI

  210. 211 Anonymous text
    December 20, 2007 at 18:56

    Zuma’s rape case shows a poor attitude towards women.why shd any democratic woman support such a male chauvinist wit a poor approach 2 Aids.

  211. 212 Kwame
    December 20, 2007 at 18:57

    With Zuma, SA has all the potential to go the way of Zimbabwe and others. I really hope the opposition and the middle class manage to see him out successfully so that the next generation of leaders can come through. Kwame, London

  212. 213 Robert
    December 20, 2007 at 18:59

    Jacob Zuma? The Wikipedia details make interesting reading! Plenty of info about polygamous relations etc besides corruption! One good thing, no friend of Mugabe. From ROBERT Seychelles

  213. 214 Nyirenda
    December 20, 2007 at 19:00

    What is Mbeki afred of? Zuma is good man He will take care of him. Nyirenda (ZAMBIA)

  214. 215 Kenneth Nwankwo
    December 20, 2007 at 19:01

    Kenneth Nwankwo from Anambra state Nigeria,i think Zuma will deliver if only given the right suport he need but not the kind of politics we play in Nigeria

  215. 216 Bryan
    December 26, 2007 at 10:50

    To Ros Atkins,

    Sorry I’ve come to this debate a bit late, but I would like to take you up on your challenge to provide an example of the MSM’s failure to cover certain topics. One of these is the history and fate of close to a million Jews driven from Arab and other Muslim countries in the 20th century. In line with the UN, evidently one of the BBC’s favourite institutions, you and other media cover the Palestinian “refugee” issue endlessly, but there is little or no mention of these Jews.

    There was one article earlier this year on the website which dealt with Iraqi Jews who’d emigrated to Israel in the 50s but was a complete misrepresentation of the oppression and killings the Jews had experienced there, and which forced them to flee. Evidently responding to complaints, the BBC polished the article up a little, but it was still misleading. I believe there are only a few dozen Jews left in Iraq, mostly in Baghdad. Googling BBC on the subject, I found one BBC article. The date? July 2003.

    You appeared to defend the MSM quite passionately against the accusation that it omits certain topics, so I look forward to the BBC correcting this extraordinary omission with equal passion and energy. It could begin with the contributions Jews made to Arab society and questions of the right of return and reparations for Jews who were forced to leave with only the clothes they were wearing.

    Thanks for your attention,

    Bryan Berman,

    Tel Aviv


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