‘An Island Where People Can Express Their Views’

NEWS FROM THE MANNIN BRANCH CELTIC LEAGUE

We might, in the light of the press freedom spat down at the sea terminal building this week, like to place a date in our diaries. The 3rd of May is ‘WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2016’.

It’s a tad ironic as well that the Moulton incident took place on ‘the turf’ of Minister Phil Gawne (Department of Infrastructure) although it should be stressed that the Minister appears to have resolved the issue speedily when he became aware of it.

Phillip Gawne was himself the focus of a ‘freedom of expression’ argument when as a Minister remarks he made at Hango Hill on Illiam Dhone day (2011) were challenged in Tynwald.

However the (then) Chief Minister Tony Brown was unequivocal and said Gawne had the right to Freedom of Expression going on:

“I’m delighted we live on an Island where people can express their views”.

It was not always so and certainly during the 1970 and 80s there were often suggestions that media output was controlled or muzzled and indeed that led to the earlier attempts by a splinter group of Nationalist to publish the Fo Hallo clandestine newspaper in the 1970s and then a decade later the foundation of the mainstream Manx Independent newspaper – at that time not linked as at present to any publishing group.

Reporting of nationalist discontent in the 1970s always had a negative bias and indeed later when the Trade Union burst into action in the early 80s government pressure ensured a persistently negative media message came out about trade unions.

The IOM TGWU responded by producing its own paper the MANX WORKER.

Later still a Police investigation was initiated when the Manx Council for Civil Liberties started to publish the Manx Herald newspaper – officials of the organisation were interviewed by police acting on the direction of government and details of its bank account sought.

There has been a growing feeling of late that the Isle of Man government like to manage or ‘spin’ news it is important therefore that a line is not crossed to the extent they try to control it by leaning on or restricting journalistic freedom.

The media can withstand with ease criticism or carping from the ‘hoi polloi’ indeed its par for the course in a democracy. However State intervention via pressure indirect or otherwise is a whole different ‘can of worms’.

Anyway 3rd of May it’s ‘World Press Freedom Day’!

Photo: CNNs Christiane Amanpour designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety

Related link:

https://www.isleofman.com/…/ministers-have-freedom-of-speech…

BERNARD MOFFATT

Issued by: The Mannin Branch Celtic League

18/03/16

THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

The link for the main web pages is below:

https://celticleague.net

Mannin Branch Celtic League's photo.
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