Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

BBC under fire for ‘censoring’ Palestine lyric

13 May 2011

Rapper Mic Righteous’s improvised set on BBC 1Xtra met with complaints after corporation masks the words ‘free Palestine’.

IOA Editor: What a sorry bunch running that ‘venerable institution’ known around the world for its supposed ‘impartiality.’

By Juliette Garside, The Guardian – 13 May 2011

Mic Righteous’s improvised set on BBC 1Xtra met with complaints after corporation masks the words ‘free Palestine’

The BBC is under attack for using sound effects to mask the lyric “free Palestine” from a performance by rapper Mic Righteous on BBC Radio 1Xtra.

The corporation is being accused of bias after effectively editing the words from Mic Righteous’s improvised set, in which he expressed his views on subjects ranging from the American government to poverty and the floods in Pakistan.

The song was recorded for Charlie Sloth’s late night hip-hop show on 4 December, but protests have been mounting since the performance was rebroadcast as part of a “best of” from the show on 30 April.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Wednesday posted a statement on its website urging listeners to write to the BBC and the Radio Times to complain, and to post their views on Sloth’s 1Xtra home page.

Describing the edit as an “extraordinary act of censorship”, the campaign asked why the BBC did not ban the song “Free Nelson Mandela” when it was released in 1984. At the time, Mandela was still considered a terrorist by many western governments.

A BBC spokesperson said a late night music show was not considered an appropriate forum for political controversy.

The corporation explained its decision in a statement: “All BBC programmes have a responsibility to be impartial when dealing with controversial subjects and an edit was made to Mic Righteous’ freestyle to ensure that impartiality was maintained.”

A video of the rap on YouTube has been played nearly 187,000 times.

Mic Righteous, who was raised in Margate, was recorded saying: “I can still scream ‘Free Palestine’ for my pride, still pray for peace, still burn the Fed for the brutality they spread over the world. Pakistan’s a[sic] ocean of bodies in the brown water still nobody helps.”

The number of comments on YouTube and Sloth’s homepage is also increasing.

A critic calling themselves Speltwrong wrote: “Once again I find myself overwhelmingly disappointed by the blatant bias shown by the BBC towards the people of Palestine. Outrageous …”

John R Porter wrote: “Not content with banning an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee for humanitarian relief in Gaza, the wretched bureaucrats at the BBC have now decided that the very mention of Palestine in a song is unacceptable. The BBC deserves ridicule and contempt for this.”


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

admin 14 May 2011

Nope. There’s no such “control,” even if there’s plenty of influence which, obviously, there is. Mostly, it is the result of the ‘natural’ inclination of mass media to fit into the particular power (“elite”) context they operate in. Of course it is influenced greatly by outside forces (AIPAC and others), but they have no “control.”

Also, when you use the term “control,” you essentially remove the ultimate responsibility from media ownership and pass it on to an outside party: Zionists, Jews, the military industrial complex, or anyone else. Other than under dictatorial regimes, this is extremely unlikely, perhaps even a logical impossibility. Of course, this sort of accusation could be far worse, reflecting racism, overtly or otherwise.

In addition to Chomsky’s writing on the media, see also Jonathan Cook’s work — both recognize Zionist influence, but put it in a larger context. See:

Jonathan Cook: An Empire of Lies
Jonathan Cook: Publish It Not

Zvi A. Zvi 14 May 2011

Dear Admin:

May I suggest that you read Alec’s text again, specifically the salient phrase:

“…I would describe this incident as one more example of the level of control exercised by Zionists in the world of media”.

Is it not so? Despite your entire dissertation, 100% correct per se, this case does indeed show a level of control that Z-oriented “elites” (your term) upon the media. This is not to say that the elders of Zion control the media–Just in case you need this caveat to help you decide that I am not a looney fringe anti-Semite.

The proof of the pudding is that, had an equally rich elite, say, from Saudi Arabia, wanted to do the same, they probably would not be able to exert the same influence. This is not just “power” as you call it, this is long-term heavy duty lobbying.

N’est ce pas?

admin 14 May 2011

@Alec: No abuse meant, but this has little to do with Zionist “control” of the media — and such comments are suspect for good reason.

Rather, this is about media conformity with power, the power of the political-economic elite, and governments who function largely on their behalf. Not surprisingly, they all side with Israel: controlling members of the media need not be Jewish (you didn’t use the term, but “Zionist” is an obvious substitute), and they surely need not know anything about Zionism. They ‘naturally’ gravitate to supporting the US/UK/EU, all allies of Israel, reflecting their respective ruling elites and their interests.

That’s not to say that there are no groups that peddle influence specifically on behalf of Israel. But even when official ‘pro-Israel’ groups, such as AIPAC in the US, are involved, they don’t operate in a vacuum: very important and influential as they surely are, they operate in a far broader context that includes the merchants of death pushing the attack jets and weapon systems with which Israel crushes its neighbors, the makers of bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes, and many other ‘products and services’ used by the Occupier against the Occupied.

All of these are cases of “insidious and dangerous” influence, and they require a compliant media that supports the goals of the broad corporate elite, advocating government policies that reflect its interests.

This is what the media does. Rather than being controlled by Zionist (read “Jewish”) forces, it reflects the interest of the powerful, including Israel itself – to the point that even “free-Palestine” is treated as an unacceptable form of speech.

Alec Ward 14 May 2011

If I wasn’t afraid of being verbally abused for my supposed anti-Semitic opinions and controversial belief in the insidious and dangerous of influence, I would describe this incident as one more example of the level of control exercised by Zionists in the world of media.

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