Tommy Robinson Jailed, Press Gagged - Orwellian Nightmare Unfolding

Items on the Balustrade

English Political activist and alternative media personality, Tommy Robinson, was jailed for 13 months on Friday, 24 hours after being arrested for contempt of court. Robinson was livestreaming on Facebook outside Leeds Crown Court in Yorkshire, England, where 24 defendants in a ‘grooming gang’ rape trial were about to hear their verdicts.

Already on a suspended sentence having been convicted of a similar offense in Canterbury, in the south of England last year, "justice" was swift for the vocal critic of Islamisation in the UK. To compound the heavy handed state response, the authorities then issued a ‘D’ Notice to prevent press coverage of his trial and imprisonment. Mainstream outlets such as The Independent and The Sun only have coverage of his arrest. There has been no mention of his subsequent court hearing and imprisonment. Only alternative media outlets have been covering this.  Some overseas mainstream outlets have provided coverage.

There is outrage being expressed across the English speaking world, particularly in the ever growing liberty/patriot/freedom/’new right’ alternative media universe.  The focus of this outrage is twofold. Firstly, the fact that he was not able to cover the Court case. In the Canterbury event in March 2017, Robinson had been prosecuted due to breaching the Court’s rules forbidding filming or taking photographs.  He had been filming on the steps and inside the building. His defence was that he had been told by a police officer and Court staff in his home town of Luton that this was OK as long as he didn’t film in the Courtroom.

Courts in England and Wales have various rules around filming and there is no one size fits all set of arrangements, so it's quite possible that the Salisbury Court had different rules than Luton or elsewhere.  However, where filming is allowed it is clear that footage should not be shown until after the proceedings are complete so as to avoid prejudicing the outcome in any way.  (In New Zealand, you can apply for permission to film Court proceedings and, if granted, the Judge may impose various conditions which must be followed. There have been plenty of examples here though, of a day’s Court coverage being shown on the news as the trial proceeds rather than having to wait until it is finished. So we do not have the same restrictions here).  

It would appear then that, yes, Robinson had broken the law in March ‘17 and he was in breach again last week (although he seemed to believe that filming outside would be OK). Nevertheless, there is a lot of anger in the UK about the grooming gang issue.  In many towns and cities gangs of Muslim men have been targeting vulnerable teenage - and sometimes pre-teen- girls- and subjecting them to rape, often gang rape. There was a massive public reaction when this came to light, especially when it was revealed that Police forces had been reluctant to prosecute and slow to act due to concerns about possible perceived racism.  The impact of the no-filming laws (which have been in place since 1925) certainly compounded the impression that the authorities want to suppress information about gangs of Muslim men grooming young girls.

The second focus of outrage is arguably even more worrisome. A ‘D’ Notice is a government notice issued to news editors requiring them not to publish certain information for reasons of national security.  A D notice has been issued to the British mainstream press not to cover the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of Robinson. This is truly Orwellian stuff. It is not the same as the law which Robinson has broken, which is in place to prevent possible prejudicial coverage of a trial. We can argue the rights and wrongs of that.  Most countries have some kind of system in place to control press Court coverage to a greater or lesser extent. D Notices, however, are very heavy handed and have long been controversial in Britain.  In 1967 the Wilson government was at loggerheads with the Daily Express over it’s supposed refusal to abide by a D notice regarding a story that Post Office telegrams were being frequently intercepted by security forces for scrutiny.  

The D Notice is an instrument of state control befitting of a tin pot dictatorship.  Nevertheless, the mainstream British media is happy to comply with the powers that be.  From time to time they’ll even cover the D Notice issue and try and sell the public on the idea that it is a reasonable compromise.  They’re so arrogant and sure of themselves that they don’t seem to realise that the age of the internet and alternative media makes such measures largely ineffective.  There will be plenty of coverage of Tommy Robinson’s situation and the attempted media blackout will likely increase public interest in the matter and set him up as a martyr.