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.
What is the current state of free speech in the UK?
Author and journalist Toby Young recently launched the Free Speech Union. In this week’s edition of the IEA’s In Conversation, Toby discusses the threats to free speech across the western world with IEA Director General, Mark Littlewood.
Why did Toby set up the union? How will it support and defend its members? What does he aim to achieve? And why is free speech under such threat?
Watch it on YouTube.
Should we end the lockdown because its justification – to prevent NHS services from being overwhelmed – has been achieved? Or would easing off now risk forcing us back into our homes?
Whilst there’ve been some hidden benefits to lockdown – decreases in pollution, fewer deaths from car accidents – haven’t these been outweighed by the colossal cost to the economy and our civil liberties? And how can the UK economy bounce back from this crisis?
On Live with Littlewood tonight, host Mark Littlewood will be joined by think tank experts and commentators for a thought-provoking and far-reaching interactive discussion.
Guests include author Toby Young, Madeline Grant of the Daily Telegraph, author and columnist Dominic Frisby, and City AM’s Rachel Cunliffe – plus John Ashmore, of CapX, Robert Colvile of the Centre for Policy Studies and Matthew Lesh of the Adam Smith Institute.
Or, for a brief taste of this new series of fascinating debates, watch our trailer on YouTube.
Toby’s stand up debut last week was pretty good. Judge for yourself…
He’s also announced today that the Free Speech Union’s website is now live and accepting members. Guido is on the advisory board…
— UK Rants: #Brexit won 2019 & it'll cruise 2020 😘 (@uk_rants) June 14, 2019
“Socialism always begins with a universal vision for the brotherhood of man and ends with people having to eat their own pets.”
Toby Young complained to the Charity Commission about left-wing charity War on Want’s involvement in the anti-Trump campaign. The Charity Commission told him:
War on Want by appearing to support the Stop Trump Campaign in materials published on the charity’s website, and through public activities of the charity’s director, the charity has been engaging in inappropriate political activity. Following our intervention, the charity has removed materials of concern from its website. We expect it to ensure that, in the future, the charity is not associated in the mind of the public with the Campaign.
Charities are free to campaign on issues that relate to their charitable objects for the public benefit. What charities cannot do is campaign against a government, administration, individual politician or political party in general terms. Charity holds a special status in our society, and so when individual charities clearly cross the line from legitimate to inappropriate political activity, the public expects us to hold them to account. That is what we have done in this case.
For general background: we determined that War on Want’s apparent involvement with the Stop Trump Campaign amounts to inappropriate political activity, because:
– The Campaign appears to be against the individual (President Trump) and his administration generally, and is not confined to criticism of that administration’s policies in relation to poverty or human rights (the charity’s purposes)
– While the charity has attempted to link the Campaign to its objects, these explanations have not been sufficient to allow us to determine that the Campaign is appropriate for the charity.
This is not the first time War on Want have been in trouble with the Charity Commission. They continually flout the law, yet no sanctions are taken against them. If Guido’s co-conspirators find any more examples of left-wing charities breaching the rules, complain to the Charity Commission and let us know. Two can play at this game…