The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, is considering appointing a “Free Speech Champion” and introducing fines for universities that “no-platform” speakers. This is excellent news. We can tell it is a move in the right direction because the Guardian ran a comment piece criticising it.
No-platforming at universities by students is just the most public example of suppressing free speech. No platforming happens wherever people intend indoctrination rather than education. The most egregious example of no-platforming in universities is in the Humanities where publishing and appointing staff who have centrist or right of centre views has been terminated. (See UK Universities Bar Conservative Voters from an Academic Career for data).
The most dangerous example of no-platforming is the BBC and Channel 4, both of which have a legal duty to be impartial but both routinely no-platform any views that their staff dislike and produce news and drama that is polemical in its support of a narrow band of postmodern views.
It is essential that the Conservatives use this period of government to implement Equality legislation in university recruitment and so stop discrimination on grounds of belief**. It is also necessary to ensure that Channel 4 and the BBC are not routinely biased. In particular the BBC Charter should be amended to forbid the suppression of news that the staff dislike (no-platforming) and amended to limit the amount of anecdotal reporting so that interviews and panels do not oppose professors to drunkards to create bias.
The staff in both the BBC and Channel 4 have become composed of privileged humanities graduates and recruitment policies are no-platforming journalists from other media sources such as the Telegraph, Mail etc. These state supported broadcasters should be able to demonstrate firstly that they have a diversity of political outlook and secondly that they comply with rules on gender and ethnicity.
** The easiest way to stop discrimination in the humanities would be to establish independent units in university departments across the country, using funds from existing departments to finance them.
The BBC “no-platforming” manifests as the suppression of news items. A recent example is the failure to note that the WHO spokesperson, Dr Daszak, who declared that a lab escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was very unlikely, was the man who financed and participated in experiments at the laboratory and could have been personally responsible for any lack of biosafety. Another example is the utter suppression of the UK-EU Trade figures to this day – see ONS figures for UK-EU Trade Balance
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: https://pol-check.blogspot.com/2021/02/no-platforming-bbc-is-also-guilty.html