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Should far-right leader have TV platform?

October 22nd, 2009
04:52 PM ET

LONDON, England - Hundreds of anti-fascist protesters gathered outside the studios of the British Broadcasting Corporation ahead of a pre-taped appearance in a prime-time TV debate by the controversial leader of a far-right, anti-immigration party.

Nick Griffin's appearance on 'Question Time' will mark the first time a far-right leader has appeared on prime-time TV in Britain.

Nick Griffin's appearance on 'Question Time' will mark the first time a far-right leader has appeared on prime-time TV in Britain.

Government minister Peter Hain has said that by making the "extraordinary" decision to allow Griffin, a Member of the European Parliament, to speak, the "BBC will be showcasing the BNP on a panel alongside the mainstream parties as an equally legitimate, respectable, democratic political party, when it is nothing of the kind."

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said: "The case against inviting the BNP to appear on Question Time is a case for censorship."

Thompson said the government should ban the BNP from the airwaves if it felt Griffin should not be allowed to take part. But Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was a matter for the BBC and he did not want to interfere with it.

So should Griffin - or indeed any elected politician regardless of whether one agrees with their views - be given a platform on TV? Or should broadcasters' obligation not to air opinions considered offensive by many override the right to free speech? Send us your comments and we will try to use them on tonight's show.

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Filed under:  General