Friday, May 23, 2008

UK media - is it guilty of racism?

I was under the impression that incitement to racial hatred was a criminal offence in the UK, yet could the media here actually be guilty of that offence?

Just take the reporting of two very similar cases into account and judge for yourself.

Case one , an 11 month old baby is found starved to death. She is the youngest child in a family of four girls. Mum and dad, are jailed for manslaughter. Mum and dad are both what the government would refer to as 'white british'. The story makes headlines locally in the Wiltshire town where the family lived, as well as the county news. But so far, I have found no record of the terrible case being reported in any national newspaper.

Case two - a seven year old girl is found starved to death. she is one of six children. Mum and step dad are both arrested and have now been charged with causing or allowing the childs death through neglect. The story makes local news in Birmingham where the family lived, but this case also makes the national headlines as well as the national tv news. The family, it is widely reported are muslims, the children it is alleged were bullied at school after being 'made' to wear muslim dress.

In both cases, social services have been blamed, both families were visited prior to the girls deaths, in both cases social services failed to make contact and in both cases it is alleged that social services 'failed' to follow up the contact. ( Why do social services always get blamed ... thats a discussion for another day!!)

So why is it that Case one was not deemed important enough to make the nationals, yet Case two does? what are the differences between the cases? The girls were different ages? Surely a child being starved whatever her age, is of equal concern. The 7 yr old is reported as having been able to steal bread from a neighbours bird table, whereas the 11 month old patently could not have done so. Other differences? Number of siblings. The 11 month old had 3 siblings, the 7 yr old had 5.... hmmm not a major difference, both would be considered a 'large' families. Final difference... oh yes religion. The 11 month olds families religion is not reported, but the 7 yr olds family religion is. Both mothers were british born. The ONLY difference between the two families is the fact that one family was muslim.

It does make me wonder, it truly does, why did one story make such a huge story, whilst the other barely caused so much as a ripple?

Could it be that the british media is biased? Could they be guilty of inciting racial hatred against muslims? I will let you judge that one for yourself.

End of the day, the real tragedy here is that two little girls are dead. Two little girls who should be out playing in the sunshine today are both dead. Regsrdless of race, religion or social status, it should not have happened. Not here, not anywhere.

Fly high little ones, may you find happiness, peace and sunshine.