BBC 'blanks out' voice of former Ulster MP

THE BBC last night applied Home Office broadcasting restrictions to remarks by the former MP, Bernadette McAliskey, and two members of the public who do not belong to any of the political or paramilitary groups which are banned under the 1988 order.

Under her maiden name of Devlin, Bernadette McAliskey was elected an 'Independent Unity' MP on her 22nd birthday in 1969. She appeared last night on Nation, a recorded discussion programme on political violence, which was shown on BBC 2.

Later, Ms McAliskey said that 'silencing' her was 'defamatory, derisory and dangerous'. She is taking legal advice after the BBC refused her request to withdraw her contribution from the programme. She said that she belonged to no political party, had drawn a clear distinction between understanding and supporting the use of violence, and had never been subjected to restrictions previously. Recently she expressed similar views on a BBC Scotland television programme and on BBC 2's Newsnight without restriction.

'Nothing I said warrants this kind of treatment. The BBC's position is ridiculous. I said to the BBC if my words might be construed as supporting the use of violence then they should not be broadcast as I do not wish them to be construed that way and yet they insist they go out as subtitles,' she added.

The 1988 Home Office notice to the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the BBC prevents broadcasts of members of a list of republican and loyalist paramilitary groups, and two legal political parties, Sinn Fein and the smaller, hardline Republican Sinn Fein. The voices of Ms McAliskey and two anonymous contributors from the audience were banned under a clause in the notice that prohibits any words spoken which 'support or solicit or invite support for such an organisation'.

The contentious words appeared as subtitles, with the voice blanked out, as the notice permits for members of banned organisations. Her voice was replaced by captions, after the interviewer had asked her if she believed that violence could be justified.

She replied: 'Quite honestly, if I supported it fully, if I could justify it, I would join the IRA. Since I am not a soldier, since I cannot within myself justify it, then I'm not. I can understand it, I can explain it, I can articulate it, and I can offer what I believe to be a rational way out of it, which is discussion and negotiation wherever it is in the world.'

She said that no sane human being supported violence. 'We are often inevitably cornered into it by powerlessness, by lack of democracy, by lack of willingness of people to listen to our problems. We don't choose political violence, the powerful force it on us.'

Ms McAliskey said that she understood the Deal bombing by the IRA, which killed 10 Marines. The Brighton bombing at the Tory conference in 1984 which killed civilians was 'less acceptable within the grounds of the Geneva convention' but she understood it.

'I accept I find the use of war and the use of arms and I find the involvement in political violence by the IRA understandable in that the present position in which we find ourselves, an intolerable position, was created itself out of political violence and the threat of further violence against us,' she said.

'Eight hundred years of the violence of your government has not promoted government of Ireland by Britain with the consent of the people of Ireland. I ask you the same question, is it right, is it necessary, and does it work?'

Ms McAliskey told the Independent in 1988 that she disagreed with Sinn Fein on a number of issues. She said she and the party were different parts of the same movement, and she 'worked with Sinn Fein on the issues'.

A BBC spokesman said yesterday that the programme had been commissioned from Juniper Productions, an independent company which had put in the subtitles on the advice of BBC lawyers. The BBC had agreed to the move.

But Helen Darbishire, campaigns officer for Article 19, an international anti-censorship group supporting a challenge to the 1988 ban in the European Court of Human Rights, said that in her view the subtitled words in the programme did not 'solicit support' for banned organisations under the order. 'I would like to see broadcasting organisations testing the ban by pushing its limits and getting it decided in a court of law. Until then we are not going to see what is within the law.'

In a statement, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, supported by 25 trade unions, described the programme as 'a drastic extension of the broadcasting ban'.

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
News
i100
Sport
footballSporting Lisbon take on Chelsea as Manchester City host Roma
News
people
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films
News
businessForbes 400 list released
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy