Court Bans BBC From Broadcasting Film About U.K. Riots

Reminiscent of Chinese authorities’ attitudes towards attempts to shed light on Tiananmen Square. The Guardian reports:

The ruling from a judge prevented the docu-drama, which had been due to be broadcast at 9pm on Monday, from being broadcast “by any media until further order”. The channel’s executives were forced to pull the film, which is based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder.

For legal reasons, the Guardian cannot name the judge who made the ruling, the court in which he is sitting or the case he is presiding over. However, it is understood that lawyers for the BBC strongly object to his ruling, the nature of which is believed to be highly unusual.

The script from the programme, written by the award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe, was produced from verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted as part of the Reading the Riots study, which conducted confidential interviews with 270 rioters.

Kirsty Hughes, chief executive of Index on Censorship, said: “This is a disturbing move. The Reading the Riots project gives a valuable insight into the events of last summer in England. As we approach the anniversary of the riots, it is important that broadcasts and discussion about the events are allowed to take place. Censoring television programmes is not in any way helpful to our understanding of the important issues and factors underlying the disturbances.”

20 Comments on "Court Bans BBC From Broadcasting Film About U.K. Riots"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Jul 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

    Nothing seems to remain a secret in those islands for long.  People’d been talking about the G4S cock-up of the Olympics security situation for months, even though their CEO claims that the company itself only became aware of problems some 8-days before he was hauled before a parliamentary committee.

    Yeah, this ruling is going to be a real bright spot on that judge’s career and public reputation.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Jul 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

      Upon mature reflection, the two things may not be unrelated, this riots film and the G4S debacle.  The authorities are probably scared sh*tless that Brits’ll riot during the Olympics, knowing that every last available law enforcement personnel is in London keeping attendees from walking through the gates with non-McDonalds fried chips.

      • Bruteloop | Jul 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

        Given, as well, PC Howard not being charged with manslaughter for the death of Ian Tomlinson when it can be seen clearly on film…add that into the mix…I reckon you could well be right. 
        Shit say hello to fan.

  2. SmokinTokinJokinBrit | Jul 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    what is there to make a film about?. the whole escapade was just a load of black teenagers who have been raised like shit thinking they can do whatever the hell they want. i saw the footage, and i saw the arrests, and the truth is that most of these “people” will spend their lives in and out of jail untill the day they catch a blade to the back. 
    but then again, this is what happens when you live in a country that spends 60 billion a year on bombs to kill Sheppard’s in Iraq, and leaves minority families to struggle with the fast emerging gang culture. 
    i dont want to blame them, but in the end no matter what, if you act like and animal, you will more than likely die like one, and without wanting to sound racist, ive yet to see a country whos black/muslim population isnt the largest cause of crime and violence. 
    ofc gangs dont have shit on the bankers, which is another rant for another time.
    the truth isnt racist, pc is out of control in Britain.  

    • Not sure if you’re trolling or just racist! Most of those caught, jailed, filmed were white, kind of nullifies the rest of your racist little rant. Most manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, there’s no real investment in new industries in the UK & mostly service industry jobs for those out of school. Lack of decent employment, constantly rising house/rent prices & a general lowering of quality of life, that’s why I left the UK, that’s probably why most people under 30 have so little hope or respect for the run down society they’re expected to be part of.

      • SmokinTokinJokinBrit | Jul 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

        oooh racist, racist. ooh. seriously what isnt correct in my statement. google the figures of arrests and then feel silly for claiming more white people were arrested. this is what i hate about the world today, you cant state a fact without some crusader telling you its not ok to say it. 

        if i were to say that in 2009 every rape in Denmark was committed by a Muslim immigrant (all 50 were) some one like you would jump down my throat just because it makes you feel special to be the good Samaritan. 

        if i were a true racist im sure i could have thrown around a few more choice words, you my friend are the worst type of person, the ultra liberal, who rather than pillage other countries, simply hands his own over on a silver platter.

    • Well if it wasn’t the fakeist person on the internet. Besides yes the content is inportant, the real problem even if it was a shitty documentary the government has no right to say I can’t watch it.

  3. The judge apparently didn’t even view the film before banning it. Rather undemocratic but rather telling of how scared the upper/upper-middle class is right now in the UK.

  4. Antediluviancurrent | Jul 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    These riots in the UK were an interesting phenomenon.  The objective causes are definitely the lack of integration and the disregarding attitude of the current neoliberal system towards these minorities and their plight in general.  But where I fail to follow most analysts is when they think this is the harsh truth they’re telling.  There’s an even harsher truth lying underneath the objective dimension.  The subjective dimension is far more interesting.  This wasn’t some sort of proletariat rising up, these people were defective and disqualified consumers, nothing more and nothing less.  No class for itself, but a class in itself.  Anyone sympathizing with them must know that these rioters were enacting the very ideology these analysts are criticising.  These riots were a zero-degree protest, a violent action demanding nothing. In their desperate attempt to find meaning in the riots, the sociologists and editorial-writers obfuscated the enigma the riots presented.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Jul 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

      Just because these riots weren’t driven by a deliberate program devised by a cadre of ivy tower intellectuals doesn’t mean that they weren’t a symptom of class warfare.

      The riots happened because the current economic and social system just plain doesn’t work at its most fundamental levels.  If you like, you can focus myopically on the chinsy, low-end quality of the consumer goods that many of the rioters looted, or the fact that a sizeable proportion ( but by no means all) were ethnic minorities. 

      But that would be to totally ignore the most salient fact, namely that the system can’t provide these people any realistic chance of obtaining them by socially sanctioned means.  The depressingly mundane character of their loot only underscores the depth of the system’s failure.

      And your overemphasis on ethnicity would totally fail to explain the numerous incidents where minorities were victimized by white Britons.

      Did ethnicity play a part?  Undoubtedly.  By definition, the ethos and folkways of ethnic minorities are at variance with those of the prevailing society around them.  That gap can only be bridged by mutual accomodation, which typically takes much longer and much steeper concession than most people can tolerate.  Hence their proneness towards agitation.  Ask an Irish historian about this.  I think they may have a perspective British people could find very useful.

      Four central facts that have to take priority in any realistic reading of the riots’ meaning:

      1.  They are a symptom of the fundamentally broken social contract.  The sadly insubstantial nature of the consumer items they looted only reinforces the severity of the breach.

      2.  At least part of the pressure on that social contract is indeed the huge flux in ethnic composition.

      3.  That change in ethnic composition is the consequence of Britain’s colonial past, and is centuries past any point where it could have been avoided.  Any successful coping strategy is going to include severe cultural concessions on the part of white Britons.  In short, “Live with it.”

      4.  99.99% of the rioters, past and future (they will riot again) are indeed dumb as rocks and without a clearly articulated ideological program.  However, that in itself doesn’t really differentiate them from the vast majority of the people who didn’t riot.

      • Jin The Ninja | Jul 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

        thank you.

      • Antediluviancurrent | Jul 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

        Reread my comment please.   You completely misunderstood me.  I was talking about the subjective dimension ( i.e. how the rioters perceived themselves ) of this conflict being as relevant to any classwarfare as the objective one.   You just did the objective analysis homework, I focussed on the subjective dimension.  I don’t care as much about the objective ‘facts’ as the ideas with which these people their reality is constructed.  You call a deliberate program ‘ivory tower intellectualism’, I call it a necessity to tear down capitalism.  Being concerned with the issue of class struggle, you should be worried about the fact that this underclass ( and just the whole of society for that matter ) hasn’t effectively identified itself with a cause to battle this, they just perceive themselves as left-out consumers, but still consumers, still embedded in the world of capital.  That should worry you grealty, because if this class doesn’t become a class for itself, we’re gonna see far worse repression and the continuation of the very system that oppresses them.  

        • Liam_McGonagle | Jul 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |

          I think there’s a bit of talking past one another here.  From what I can make out of your responses, I think our most substantial differences are tactical, not strategic.

          I think the ethnic thing is important –but only because it forms a very real obstacle to forming a cohesive vision of a functional society.

          I also think there are real limits to an academic based approach.  True, it gives a person the objectivity they need to make vital connections–but it also risks alienating a person from the raw social context that needs to be effectively incorporated into any communications strategy.

          See?  Didn’t that third para just reek of ivy tower bullshit?  It may be factually accurate–and it’s good to have a clear foundation around which to craft your aesthetic–but it even makes me want to wretch.  And I believe it’s true.

      • Antediluviancurrent | Jul 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

        Also, you’re focussing way more on the ethnic dimension of this than I did.  I even dare to say that a huge portion of the rioters were white.  That was my whole point, we’re dealing here with something different than just banlieu upsurges of ethnic minorities like we saw in France years ago.  It is more encompassing.

        If you wish to make an anti-racism statement ( I greatly support any attack on the social darwinism of today’s society ), be my guest.  But I cannot follow you when you think theoreticians aren’t helpful or even the last thing we need.

  5. the US and the UK
    are now China Lite

    the same great repression
    but with a whiter, friendlier face

  6. Simiantongue | Jul 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |

    The revolution will not be televised. 

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