Friday 13 November 2015

Is it cos he is a Newsnight reporter?

One of the most significant recent stories involving the BBC - surprisingly little commented-upon I think - has been the seizure of Newsnight reporter Secunder Kermani's laptop by the police under the Terrorism Act.

Secunder Kermani's Newsnight interviews with various British-born jihadists have proved highly controversial and we've discussed them on several occasions:

I have to say that I'm torn by several aspects of this story. 

I don't want the state seizing journalists' laptops but I do want the state to protect us from the very jihadists Secunder Kermani was talking too. 

Where to sit on that question remains hard for me to figure out. 

And, despite my huge qualms about such interviews, I've argued before that there could be a case for giving airtime to these jihadists if such exposure exposes their vile views and vile personalities to the full glare of the public gaze, properly mediated and properly scrutinised by the BBC.

My doubts - as outlined in some of the posts above - are that Secunder's Newsnight reports have often left something to be desired in that respect. 

Though I've always felt disgusted by his which some credit might be supposed to gotto Secunder...I've always put that down to me being intensely hostile to such people rather than to Secunder and Newsnight. 

And I've also wondered, 'What would those who don't share my hypersensitivity to such things make of such interviews?' 

Some of the above posts contain critiques of various Secunder Kermani reports for the BBC, They outline my concerns that Secunder has been insufficiently critical of the jihadists, their families and their friends - or, to put it another way, far too uncritical of some of the jihadists, the jihadists' families and the jihadists' friends; and far too 'pushing of the Muslim agenda'.

The BBC's defence of his reporting, as on Newswatch a couple of weeks ago, has been that such interviews with jihadis have always been accompanied by strong, critical probing from the BBC. 

All I can repeat is that's not really been my experience of Secunder Kermani's Newsnight reports.

One of the above posts (Some extremists worth understanding, some extremists not worth understanding) rather tellingly details (if I say so myself) Secunder's Twitter activity, contrasting his interactions with two kinds of 'extremist' - the Islamist kind and the anti-Islamist kind. 

If you read that post you'll see how sharp the contrast is. He's openly aggressive towards the 'anti-Islamist extremists' but far less so the 'Islamist extremists'....

....which calls for the question: Why? 

His tweets seem, therefore, to parallel his reporting, such that if, say, India's BJP PM Narendra Modi were to visit the United Kingdom (as he's just done), I'd expect him only to tweet the following (as he's just done): 

There was a pro-Modi guest on that programme. He went untweeted-about.

Now, the question of bias regarding Secunder Kermani's reporting doesn't necessarily answer the question about whether the police should have seized his laptop. They are different questions.

I'm guessing, however, that his Newsnight reports will change from now on, given that his jihadist contacts will now know that the UK authorities will take anything they say to him in evidence against them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.