Sunday, 15 March 2009

Wrong priorities on torture

Binyam Mohamed was back in the papers on 14 March 2009 - after a break for the Luton protests - following an interview with the BBC.

The Sun got its knickers in a twist over the interview in its 'Outrage at BBC torture claims' story, an outrage it singularly failed to muster following Mohamed's first post-release interview in the Mail on Sunday. (Why the Mail wanted an exclusive with someone it has so little sympathy for is another matter entirely.)

Back to the Sun however, and its tedious BBC-bashing. Even taken at face value (ie. ignoring the Mail interview) the story was 'outraged' at entirely the wrong thing. On the substance of Mohamed's claims of torture it has nothing to say. On the fact he gave a broadcast interview on the BBC where he made those claims again - well, that's outrageous, apparently.

Being tortured = fine. Talking about being tortured on the BBC = 'outrageous'.

Who else was outraged? According to The Sun, Gordon Brown was 'dismayed' by it. And to prove it, they have a quote from his spokesman: 'It’s for the BBC to justify the approach it takes to an interview.'

Which doesn't sound much like outrage or dismay.

Who else? Needless to say, David Davis MP. He said: 'I’m astonished the BBC was happy to give him time to slag off the country he wants to live in but aren’t interested to inquire what he was doing in Afghanistan'.

The very next line of the story reads: The BBC said Mohamed was challenged on various issues, including his reason for visiting Afghanistan.

Hands up who thinks David Davis gave a typically useless, kneejerk outburst without hearing the interview...

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