Broadcaster claims that allowing the lyric would have “comprised impartiality”
The word “Palestine” was censored in a freestyle performance aired on the 1xtra network in February last year, during which the BBC production staff covered it up with the sound of broken glass according to a report by TheNewStatesman.com.
The artist Mic Righteous had been performing a song, rapping the lyrics, “I still have the same beliefs
I can scream ‘free Palestine,’ die for my pride still pray for peace, still burn a fed for the brutality they spread over the world.
The BBC Trust attempted to defend its decision in a ruling passed down on Jan. 31, releasing a statement.
“Mic Righteous was expressing a political viewpoint which, if it had been aired in isolation, would have compromised impartiality,” the company said.
The censored version of the song was also reportedly aired in April and drew complaints from audience members who couldn’t believe that such a measure would be taken.
The BBC’s own guidelines allow for “individual expression” for “artists, writers and entertainers”, as long as services “reflect a broad range of the available perspectives over time.”
The network also argued that a late night music show was not the appropriate place to get into political debate as it was not obvious when these other views would be aired.
Amena Saleem, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said according to the New Statesman: ‘”In its correspondence with us, the BBC said the word Palestine isn’t offensive, but ‘implying that it is not free is the contentious issue’, and this is why the edit was made.”
The UN Security Council calls Israel the “occupying force” in the West Bank and Gaza, however, which means that the occupation is not a statement of opinion. The network hasn’t addressed that fact yet according to reports, which is a key issue.
Nine complaints saying that the BBC demonstrated bias against Palestinians have been ignored by the network as well.
The PSC also pointed out that the BBC didn’t ban the song “Free Nelson Mandela,” the leader against South African apartheid, in 1984 even though Mandela was considered to be a terrorist by Western governments at the time.
According to New Statesman, the BBC Trust said it is not “proportionate or cost-effective” to proceed further with the complaint despite those who point out the highly disproportionate nature of the censorship of the song in the first place.
- BBC censors its own report on Jews (realitynow2012.wordpress.com)
- BBC defends decision to censor the word “Palestine” (newstatesman.com)
- Fire In The Booth – Mic Righteous wordz Free Palestine “censored” (moorbey.wordpress.com)