I was dismayed earlier today to read leading Labour officials are calling for Russia Today to lose its broadcasting licence in England.
I expect such an attitude from a Government trying desperately to hold together its anti-Russian narrative but it’s more disturbing by far to see such narrowmindedness cross the political divide.
Up until a couple of years ago I’d never even heard of RT and until a few weeks back I’d never watched a single second of it. But loyalty or otherwise to RT isn’t the point here.
We are talking instead to the war on freedom of speech that is fast gathering pace in Britain.
I’ll begin by referring to a much less important example.
As a Nottingham Forest supporter, I know that the last media I should listen to for a fair and balanced appraisal of how good my team is are Radio Nottingham, the Nottingham Post or the club’s own website.
That’s no criticism of any of them – indeed I hold both the radio and newspaper staff in high esteem.
It’s merely that they are duty bound to consider everything from a Forest point of view.
Their job is to try to find the positives rather than concentrate on Forest’s faults.
I know, therefore, that should be the neutral BBC or even Radio Derby lavish praise on Forest it is of far greater value.
Widen the focus to political life in the United Kingdom and we are fed a constant diet of information inevitably slanted towards our own national interests.
Otherwise most of the journalists or broadcasters would soon find themselves out of a job.
Therefore, if I want to get a more realistic evaluation of Britain’s role in the world, if is totally logically to look elsewhere.
Both Al Jazeera and Russia Today offer afar different perspective from our mainstream media.
My job, therefore, if I choose to accept it, is to consider both sides and try to form my own opinions.
I value both the availability of such TV stations and the chance to go onto the Internet and hear the views of good people who are shunned by our media.
For the record, RT has not gone as far as suggesting that the British were behind the Russian spy poisoning.
They have, however, offered the not unreasonable comment that we should wait for facts to emerge before finger pointing.
If what they are broadcasting is stuff and nonsense, why should that worry the authorities?
On the other hand, they may be concerned ordinary folk are opening their minds to a world beyond enemies and bogey men and women.
My opinion is that RT offers a more intelligent insight into the ways of Britain and the world.
Long may it continue – if this really is a free democratic country that wouldn’t be in doubt.O