Writers’ Guild revives Anti-Censorship committee

The combined outrages of the JS:TO furore, the Behzti cancellation and the upcoming Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill have provoked The Writers’ Guild to revive its Anti-Censorship committee.

Chairman Graham Lester-George explains:

The Writers’ Guild started an Anti-Censorship Committee in the 1960s but when politicians stopped setting themselves up as our moral guardians, it was deemed surperfluous and wound up. It is to our great regret that we find ourselves compelled to reopen it.

The WG has been in talks with Equity and Bectu and intends to bring up the Religious Hatred Bill at the next TUC conference.

(From The Stage)

21 Responses to “Writers’ Guild revives Anti-Censorship committee”

  1. Christopher Shell says:

    If they think about it, they too will believe in censorship in certain circumstances. ‘No censorship of any kind, in any circumstances’ sounds like blanket absolutist unthinking dogmatism. Context, context, context.

  2. Monitor says:

    ‘No censorship of any kind, in any circumstances’

    Source of this quote, please.

  3. Marc says:

    Quote sounds like a Shellism to me, Monitor. Anyone else?

  4. Andrew Nixon says:

    Sounds like the only person he’s quoting is himself and his associates.

  5. Christopher Shell says:

    You are quite right: it is a principle (enshrined, for clarity, in quotation marks): not an actual quotation.
    If they don’t hold to this principle, then they need to clarify what can and cannot be censored, and why.

  6. tom p says:

    “Enshrined … in quotation marks”! Blimey, it seems anything can be a shrine nowadays.

    It is a principle that you love to cite in opposition to your (as you see it) benign and civilised intelligent censorship, however it is not one that holds up to any scrutiny, because it is a reductio ad absurdem of such positions, which is better described as ‘no censorship of art, as long as there is no exploitation or demonstrable harm done’.

    You constantly do this sort of thing, and it is most unbecoming of a man of your intellectual pretensions

  7. G. Tingey says:

    Perhaps a little off-thread but a thought…

    IF the “religious Hatred” bill gets passed, can proceedings be intiated against any shop or organisation or person who sells copies of either “the protocols” or the “recital”?
    Since both documents openly preach hatred and murder …

  8. tom p says:

    If the CPS don’t, then one could surely launch a private prosecution based on the law, especially as it’s likely to be as badly worded as many other laws.

  9. […] the watchmen?

    Writers’ Guild revives Anti-Censorship committee MediaWatchWatch reports that The Writers Guild has revived its Anti-Censorship Committee. “Writer […]

  10. Christopher Shell says:

    It’s exactly the ‘no demonstrable harm done’ that is the flaw. Why?
    (1) Even if one cites statistics, they can be dismissed with ‘well, that’s your interpretation’.
    (2) There is no agreement about what things are intrinsically bad. Because there is no agreement, the secular humanists’ view is given precedence over the Christian. Did I say ‘because’? That would be to credit it with a logic it does not possess.
    (3) Part of the reason there is supposedly no agreement is that people may know that certain things are bad long-term, but embrace them because they give them a short-term kick, or to get their own back on the ‘fuddyduddies’.

  11. Andy Gilmour says:

    The “Christian view” (or that of any other religion) should always take second place, because it inevitably involves the invocation of unfalsifiable claims of supernatural authority. Also, to assume that there is a single, unified “Christian View” of almost any ‘controversial’ moral issue is at least grossly simplistic, or to be more honest patently wrong (when one examines the statements/edicts/official doctrines of assorted sect leaders – ie the nearest you’re going to get to ‘facts’ when talking about supernaturalism).

  12. tom p says:

    But, Christopher, the harm part aside (which is something we fundamentally disagree over), you accept that your previous statement was a gross oversimplification of the anti-censorship position then?

  13. Christopher Shell says:

    I doubt whether there is a single anti-censorship position at all. After all, thinking people will not hold precisely the same position as one another -unless they are dupes or brainwashed.
    In any case, as I mentioned, no position which is ‘anti-censorship’ tout simple has been properly thought through. If any lobby has such a title or description,they should change it if they wish to be taken seriously.

  14. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    I think if the choice had to be, between no censorship whatsoever, and the kind of repression seen in some countries around the world, I’d choose no censorship. If we have to have any censorship, it must be imposed fairly and as a complete last resort, where no other restriction (such as reasonable parental control mechanisms) will do.

    Censorship SHOULD NOT be imposed for the sake of people’s religious sensibilities, or to protect their irrational beliefts, which are, in my opinion ridiculous anyway.

  15. tom p says:

    But Christopher, in comment #1, you said

    “‘No censorship of any kind, in any circumstances’ sounds like blanket absolutist unthinking dogmatism”

    Are you now accepting that you were reducing ad absurdem there then?

  16. Christopher Shell says:

    Yes: deliberately reducing ad absurdum (a common step in most debates).
    The flaw (‘absurdity’ is too strong) is to characterise oneself as anti-censorship when one knows that there are plenty of situations where one would not wish to be anti-censorship. Such a characterisation seems to be ideologically motivated. The person or group is question is desperate to let the world know what sort of ppl they are aligning themselves with – and even more desperate to let the world know whom they are NOT aligning themselves with.

  17. tom p says:

    The person or group is question is desperate to let the world know what sort of ppl they are aligning themselves with – and even more desperate to let the world know whom they are NOT aligning themselves with.

    Yet more intellectual dishonesty here, implying that people who believe in freedom of expression are doing so out of a teenage style protest, whereas the censorious are, in contrast presumably grown-up and intelligent and take this position because of their immense intellects.

    Oh, and what’s the deal with your ‘ppl’ thing? Are you texting your comments, or is it in homage to michael howard and his inability to say people properly?

    Anyone adopting any position in public is letting themselves be known as being alignd with (and usually, by definition, against) certain groups. It’s axiomatic.

    For the record, there are very many people who are utterly opposed to censorship of all kinds, at least partly on the basis that anything genuinely harmful will be an illegal act already, and filming it would thus merely be compounding an existing felony.

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    ok – I dont understand what ‘merely compounding’ means. Can ‘compounding’ ever be ‘mere’, given that ‘compounding’ implies further adding to or multiplying whatever negative content was originally present?

    ‘Intellectual dishonesty’: you are taking the psychological approach, claiming to be able to tell another person’s intentions. Generally, the only person who can accurately assess intentions is the person themselves: the possessor of the intentions.

    Of course, I do the same thing myself. I have particular people in mind, who are what CS Lewis (‘First and Secoind Things’) called ‘Bulverites’: namely, those who thought that stereotyping of their opponents (as opposed to citation of evidence) amounted to a proper argument. In other words, polarisation of people rather than amassing of evidence.
    I have no doubt that such ppl exist, in fact form a large proportion of the population.
    But I doubt they are particularly to be identified with the absolutely-anti-censorship lobby which you say exists, any more than with their opponents: it is only insofar as being absolutely-anti-censorship is such a simplistic/totalitarian position that one would expect to find there people who see things in terms of black and white.

  19. tom p says:

    You doubt that compounding can ever be mere?!
    Surely filming someone’s murder or rape is a mere compounding, since the murder or rape themselves are grossly horrific acts. While the filming would clearly add to the understanding that the murderer/rapist is a psychopath, and possibly one who intended to sell the videos, what’s far, far, far worse is that somebody has been raped or murdered. Yes, it’s worse that the act has been filmed, but not much worse, just a little bit, therefore it has been merely compunded. QED.

    Regarding my claim of intellectual dishonesty, if you bother to read your tortured prose (I know it’s an unpleasant thing to do, but do try), or if you can’t be bothered to do that, why not just read the quote I picked out and stuck at the top of my reply. You’ll see that you’re quite clearly “claiming to be able to tell another person’s intentions

  20. Christopher Shell says:

    Exactly! Why else did I just admit to it?
    If we are going to try to tell others’ intentions,we will often fail – but we can at least try, and the way to do that is by pointing out patterns in the evidence.

  21. tom p says:

    You actually said that you do the same thing yourself, rather than that you had done at that point in time, but that’s a semantic difference.