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shiraz socialist

Did the BBC pull a documentary on the predations of alleged pedophile Jimmy Savile because it would have interfered with Christmas-season tributes to said alleged pedophile (and former high-profile BBC employee)? An investigation may show this -- or not. It depends on whether the BBC's top executives are willing to face reality... something that is not guaranteed.

Indeed, I find the usually astute Shiraz Socialist's quickness to suggest that this investigation is an example of the BBC's public service ethos, as opposed to hysterical damage control when caught red-handed, a bit odd. Charlie cleanly differentiates the corrupt commercialized executive from the pure innocent truth-seeking rank and file. I suspect the distinction is a bit more blurry around the office.

Meanwhile, BBC is still refusing to publicize the results of the Balen Report. An investigation in 2003 looked into the quality and impartiality of the BBC's Middle East news coverage following allegations of anti-Israel bias. Fighting Freedom of Information requests, the BBC has never disclosed the contents of the report. As UK Lawyers for Israel member David Lewis noted at CiF Watch back in February, "what could have been in the Balen Report to make the BBC fight so...More >>

In Tunisia, people power has toppled the old regime. Interestingly, the country is less likely to fall into the hands of Hamas-style Islamists thanks to the previous government's efforts to keep the thugs firmly out of the public sphere. Michael Koplow explains at Shiraz Socialist:

The nature of the opposition and the willingness of the Tunisian government to back down are not coincidental. If it had been clear that Islamist opposition figures were playing a large role in the current unrest, the government would likely have doubled down on repressive measures. The Tunisian government is rooted in secular Arab nationalist ideology and has long taken its secularism and its nationalism more seriously than its neighbors. Habib Bourguiba, Ben Ali’s predecessor and the father of the post-colonial Tunisian state, took over lands belonging to Islamic institutions, folded religious courts into the secular state judicial system, and enacted a secular personal status code upon coming to power.


Bourguiba, like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Turkey, viewed Islamists as an existential threat to the very nature of the Tunisian state. He viewed the promotion of secularism as linked to the mission and nature of the state, and because Islamists differed with him

...More >>

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