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October 17, 2021

THE Western Mail’s republican political editor at large Martin Shipton told us on BBC Radio Wales this morning that newspaper coverage of the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess has already slipped into a brand of lazy racism which the Leveson report was designed to tackle.

I thought that a reporter’s job immediately after a horrendous crime like this was to listen to the police then report to others as much as possible of exactly what they say without filters, adulteration or any censorship, chase all leads, knock on as many doors and speak to as many neighbours as possible.

Hence the Sun on Sunday and Mail on Sunday among many others doing dirty work to report that the 25-year-old British Somali man who appears to have sat in the church waiting for police to arrest him after repeatedly knifing Amess may have had radical Islamic Jihadi religious motivations for his attack.

Reviewing the Sunday newspapers not, it seems, to praise hacks for such scoops and sensational stories, but instead for examples of ethical and moral lapses in the London-based press, Shipton and Radio Wales Sunday Supplement presenter Vaughan Roderick, rather like two elderly sermonising rural parish priests looking disapprovingly at antics across the fence in the big bad city, opined that media bias was leading the coverage with Somali heritage and Islamist extremist links receiving greatest prominence, thereby driving anti-Islamist fundamentalist prejudice on the breakfast tables of the UK to further consolidate and reinforce right-wing extremism.

Sun on Sunday staff reporters Mike Sullivan, Tom Wells, Isaac Crowson and Holly Christodoulou told us that police were searching expensive houses in North London where suspect Ali Harbi Ali is believed to have lived not far from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s house.

To get that kind of information you have to build strong links with police and you have to work hard chasing and harrying to bring us as much information as possible so those four journalists deserve praise and congratulations for their sterling work.

They were able to tell us that Ali – whose family came to London from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s – may have been radicalised online during lockdown, possibly inspired by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda offshoot in Somalia and Kenya.

So I wondered how the more ethically pure, principled and highly grounded Western Mail (just like the BBC, nakedly attached to Welsh government and its essentially radical feminist, progressive trans BLM neo-Marxist worldview so that both have become essentially purely unquestioning and unchallenging amplification devices, marketing and media departments for the Senedd) would have reported on it.

Well, the driving and dominating factors in how news organisations report clearly differs radically across nations and is, naturally, going to be affected by the prevailing political directions and dogma in each.

If you adopt overtly political radical feminist, progressive trans BLM neo-Marxist directions with formidable restrictions and rules on language and presentation designed to re-engineer and re-image the world around us to satisfy a minority obsessed with sexual and racial diversity and multiculturalism at the outset then you are first likely to question if the ethnic heritage or origin of the suspect is in any way relevant.

That would then mean that the man would be described as British because, presumably, he was born in Britain and any reference to Somalia would risk offending and irritating minority groups.

These overtly political radical feminist, progressive trans BLM neo-Marxist directions and formidable restrictions and rules on language would then, presumably, rule that the risk of offending or irritating by referring to his religious motivations would prevent us from referring to Islam.

Wilfully misused and misunderstood general data protection rules preventing reporters and the public from revealing identities and fixed abodes would then prevent us from naming the man nor where he lives or lived, with the implication that doing so might offend his human rights.

“A British man has been detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and is being held in a London police station after Tory MP Sir David Amess was knifed,” or variations on this would, presumably, be the Western Mail version.

This is what the Online Safety Act is trying to do – wrap us up in fear, infantilising us so that we no longer are able to speculate, opine and discuss openly with as much information available to us as possible dug out by reporters and bloggers who break rules rather than observe them.

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