BBC banned from filming during disability benefits protest in Houses of Parliament

One YouTube video is worth a thousand words.

As reported in The Mirror, because the BBC doesn’t have anything on the subject:

Jesus fucking Christ. The only saving grace is that it was apparently done by a total idiot, because it’s all over Twitter and this convenient Reddit thread, which has a number of links to Twitter comments. Apparently, the Opposition is even more outraged by it than I am, with one MP leaving the building to join the protesters.

If there’s a technical, nit-picky, legalistic reason this isn’t idiotic cack-handed censorship, I’m not interested in hearing it. It just is not done in a civilized society. Protest is not to be swept under the rug, it is to be aired and evaluated in a free and open forum.

BTW, I’m using this stunning acquiescence on the BBC’s part as evidence against its independence from Her Majesty’s Government. The BBC obviously knows who has ultimate editorial control.

The Guardian has some interesting tidbits:

A protester played a harmonica. The Guthries, pater and fils, would be proud.

I omitted the technical, nit-picky, legalistic excuse the government used to justify what it did, because it’s forgotten what the rights to free speech and peaceful protest are all about. The UK is supposed to have a Constitution, albeit an unwritten one, and this is contrary to the very notion of a functional democratic polity.

(Just because I’ll need to say it sooner or later: Anyone who mentions that the UK is a monarchy is missing the point in a rather spectacular fashion.)

Nobody got sucker-punched? Meh.

Not sure why you bothered.

There was specific business in the House. It just wasn’t the MPs’ business. A hearty fuck you to the Government or whatever civil service functionary made the decision.

No, and that’s one of the things that made the ban on filming so surprising: This was a peaceful protest by all accounts. (Well, not by Aunty Beeb’s account, in which it was a totally non-existent protest of the kind which never occurred.) It didn’t even give the government the fig-leaf justification that broadcasting it might spread violence. They mentioned suicide, sure, but only the suicides of fellow disabled people. They were only calling on Cameron to apologize.

According to the Guardian article linked by the OP in post #2, the order was given by Black Rod, which is apparently the name for the official charged with Westminster buildings and security.

I’m betting that they are going to argue that “specific business” refers only to the scheduled and regular activities of the parliament. The Guardian article also says that “Under parliamentary rules, only authorised photography is allowed.” I’m betting that Black Rod has the authority to give, and to remove, permission for photography. Whether he should be banning photography in cases where the only danger is government embarrassment is something that he and i might have to disagree on.

Indeed. Even in terms of their mealy-mouthed self-serving policy, this blackout is unjustifiable: The business of a government is to be responsive to the people, or at least to acknowledge that they’re saying something. (Or, if you want to maintain that the BBC really is independent, to allow the media to acknowledge that they’re saying something.)

I certainly agree with you on this.

Well, that’s just it: Black Rod is at least theoretically apolitical. He’s like the Sergeant at Arms of Congress. So it’s none of his business whether the government is being embarassed.

And the Brits use that term with a straight face? :slight_smile:

How about it. I don’t think J.K. Rowling -Brit notwithstanding- would even use a name like that. Black Rod and The Staff Of Doom.

Black Rod is a title, not a name - it refers to the mace that accompanies the office. Technically he is the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.

I doubt that he did it because the government was being embarrassed. He did it because that’s a rule that he is supposed to enforce.

In other wtf news, footage of Parliament is not allowed to be used for satirical purposes.

This is why America is best. We have the Freedom.

Yes. And then we giggle about him behind his back.