Stu Peters, the Manx Radio presenter who was suspended for challenging the concept of “white privilege” in a heated discussion during a late-night phone-in, has been exonerated. The Isle of Man’s Communications Commission – its equivalent of Ofcom – has completed its investigation and concluded that Stu did not breach the Programme Code.
In a “decision notice” published this evening, the regulator said: “Whilst issues surrounding race can be an emotive matter, the debate in question was conducted in a fair and measured way, and for the most part, in a calm and open manner.”
This is a significant victory for the Free Speech Union, which went in to bat for Stu, a member of the new organisation. On June 7 it wrote to the Communications Commission, demanding it exonerate the presenter, and hinting that it would challenge the decision in the courts if it didn’t. The Isle of Man is bound by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which means the Commission has a legal duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, says:
“The suspension of Stu Peters by Manx Radio and the investigation of him by the broadcasting regulator just because he challenged the concept of ‘white privilege’ is a clear breach of his right to free speech. The attempt to publicly shame people who don’t subscribe to the latest woke orthodoxies and rob them of their livelihoods is reminiscent of the struggle sessions during China’s Cultural Revolution. We would do well to remember that our grandparents fought and died to protect the right to challenge ideological dogma without being punished by the authorities. I don’t believe that this cruel humiliation of Stu Peters is supported by Manx Radio listeners or the people of the Isle of Man. He deserves an apology and immediate reinstatement.”
Manx Radio, which referred the matter to the regulator when it suspended the presenter, may have been hoping for a different outcome – as of tonight, it has not reinstated Stu, with Managing Director Chris Sully instead saying station bosses “need time to work through the entire report to see what we can learn”.
If it doesn’t give him his old job back, it will be hearing from the Free Speech Union which has set up a litigation fund so it can stand up for free speech in the courts. You can contribute to that fund above and sign a petition demanding Stu’s reinstatement by Manx Radio here.