ACE half-heartedly lobbies government on Religious Hatred Bill
The Arts Council England, keen to re-establish its liberal credentials after press accusations that it gave in to Christian pressure groups over the funding of the JS:TO tour, has entered into talks with the Home Office about the proposed Religious Hatred Bill.
David McNeill, ACE head of public affairs:
This is legislation which at face value could be seen to restrict freedom of expression, and we are seeing a growing ability of the religious right in this country to campaign effectively on issues, which is a cause for concern.
There is a genuine background for this anxiety, but actually the arts has nothing to fear but fear itself. It is important the arts retains confidence in its ability to deal with challenging and provocative issues.
Hmm. The Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill “at face value could be seen…”, “the arts has nothing to fear but fear itself”? Sounds like Mr McNeill is already toeing the government line on this issue.