Springer verdict – reactions
Quotes from the usual suspects, Beyer and Green, in today’s papers are surprisingly thin on the ground. Only The Sun
gives Green’s opinion (“It is corrupt”), completely ignoring the Mediawatch-UK press release:
scandalous… simply not good enough… sophistry… stupefying arrogance
The Church of England’s reaction is given in The Scotsman:
Naturally we are disappointed at the Governors’ decision. Clearly, they took a long and serious look at this issue and were unable to reach a unanimous viewpoint.
This was a programme that gave rise to unprecedented levels of public concern and, as the Governors concede, caused significant offence to large numbers of people.
We await the adjudication by Ofcom on this case.
The Evangelical Alliance are quoted in The Independent as being “deeply disappointed” and they praise the “courage” of Sarkis,
We reflect the views not only of Christians, but also of many ordinary licence-fee payers who were offended … They will be bewildered by this decision
The furore caused by Christian fundamentalists has been put into perspective by this decision.
The BBC decided to show Jerry Springer – The Opera not because it wanted to offend people but because it adjudged it to have artistic merit.
We congratulate the BBC, they have done exactly the right thing.
The Scotsman also quotes Lib Dem MP Evan Harris:
The Government needs to abolish the blasphemy law so that religious groups cannot attempt to blackmail broadcasters or the media with threats of prosecution when free speech demands that no subject – religious or otherwise – is protected from criticism or satire
But the secular/religious divide is not as clear-cut as it appears. The relatively sensible Rev Colin Morris has a well-argued article in The Guardian:
It would be curious if Christianity, having survived 2,000 years of martyrdom and mass persecution, were under threat from a barrage of swear words.
UPDATE: Bloggerheads has a useful roundup of events leading up to this point, with particular reference to the bogus claims made in the original anonymous email circular (8,000 swearwords, Roly Keating’s “pushing back the boundaries” non-quote) which started off this whole furore. Will we ever know who wrote it? Unlikely.
UPDATE: Chortle carries an amusingly enraged quote from Green which everyone else seems to have missed:
It’s a complete aberration [sic] of their responsibility. If the governors are supposed to be a watchdog and they can’t see why Jerry Springer – the Opera shouldn’t have been shown then they have no reason to exist.