Wednesday, 27 July 2011

13 Years on and Still Governments Hide Behind the Freedom of the Press

As early as 1998 I wrote to Alistair Darling asking him why, despite the Benefits Integrity Project's abject failure to weed out the legions of disabled benefits' cheats infesting the economy, he, and his government, were in tacit agreement with the scum press and shite-end of TV documentary makers in their hounding of disabled people.

Darling's response, or that from his researcher, brushed me off with some freedom of the press guff; and, the media, especially the print side, carried on with their propaganda to the point where disabled people are today roundly demonised within society.

Fast forward to 2011. Disability hate crime and harassment is rife. The Scum and Daily Hate have made disabled bashing an accepted form of sport. Chris Grayling when challenged on the misrepresentation of benefits' fraud and the tie-in with disabled people blurts out "I do not control the editorial approach of the tabloids, and sometimes stories run in ways that completely bemuse me and are certainly beyond any expectations." 

No Pontius, off course you or indeed any government minister should not interfere with the freedom of the press. No, but you should protest in the strongest terms when the press take your figures and conflate them and through processes of aggregation use them as propaganda against people, the overwhelming majority of whom have done no wrong other than being disabled.

One of the duties of a free press is to hold the government of the day to account; to inform the public of what those who governing us are doing. They should keep the public informed, in an objective and accessible way, of the news as it happens, not as they choose to fashion it.

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