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Anorak | Jeremy Corbyn on Clive Lewis: context is no excuse in Britain but anything goes in Iran

Jeremy Corbyn on Clive Lewis: context is no excuse in Britain but anything goes in Iran

by | 21st, October 2017

Jeremy Corbyn tells the BBC about Clive Lewis, the Labour MP recorded telling a man, “On your knees, bitch“:

“Completely wrong, he should never have said it, completely unacceptable comments. He has apologised, I’ve been in touch with him, he’s been in touch with me to apologise personally to me and it’s a message to everybody that this kind of language is not acceptable in any circumstances, any time.”

Here’s the man who used to work for the Iranian government’s Press TV talking about causing offence. (Corbyn earned £20,000 from Iran’s propaganda broadcaster.

In 2011, Britain’s Ofcom media watchdog fined the company £100,000 for airing an interview with jailed Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, saying the interview had been held under duress and after torture while Bahari — now a British resident — was in prison following his coverage of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.)

That’s Iran where they execute you for being gay, deny the Holocaust, persecute Kurds and treat women as second-class citizens:

 

 

It’s all about standards, eh, Jezza. And nothing biased in any of it, of course. This is the same Lewis who said of Corbyn’s old paymasters in Iran: “There are far too many in politics today who wish to criticise only countries that fit into a black and white binary world view.”

Clive Lewis told the Commons on October 11, 2017:

“It was quite shocking to listen to the seemingly inexhaustible list of human rights abuses by Iranian authorities. It was quite numbing to hear them all. I think it is right that we focus on human rights, as that issue has been a central thrust of my very short parliamentary career since being elected two years ago, but I would also like to focus on the fate of journalists, both those working inside Iran and those working remotely from the UK. I declare an interest as a former BBC journalist and the chair of the National Union of Journalists parliamentary committee. I do that for the record to state my solidarity with journalists both in Iran and around the world, who strive to do nothing more than ask questions in an attempt to hold power to account.

“As we know, Iran has elections that many other inhabitants of the middle east can only envy. Here I state a truism, but it is essential that we set it down, that elections are only ever one element of a functioning democracy. A democracy where bloggers and reporters must risk their lives and the well-being of their families in order to comment on the political life of their country cannot be seen as a democracy in the true sense. Democracy is not worth the ballot paper it is printed on without freedom of the press. There is a barrier to informing the electorate, as the press provides feedback to the legislature. The often brutal suppression of those speakers also creates a chilling fear that acts as a cancer on all of those forming opinions and the ability to take action in the public arena.

“As my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds) mentioned a constituent of his who has been in prison, I would like to mention three journalists who are being held and are on hunger strike. Soheil Arabi has been in prison since 2013 and has been on hunger strike for over a month. Mehdi Khazali was arrested in August and has been on hunger strike since the day of his arrest. Ehsan Mazandarani was arrested in 2015 and has been denied early release despite very poor health. There are many more prisoners I could mention. Their stories make for chilling reading.

“The long arm of control reaches way beyond Iran and stretches as far as those working in our very own BBC, as the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Brendan O’Hara) mentioned. Charges have been filed against almost all the Iranian journalists working for the BBC’s Persian-language service in London; 152 journalists have been charged with conspiracy against Iran’s national security and have faced constant harassment and intimidation and an effective freeze on all their Iran-based assets. Those charged cannot defend themselves unless they return to Iran, which they feel unable to do for fear of reprisal. I beg the Minister to raise these names whenever he meets his Iranian counterparts and to push the issues of journalism, freedom of the press and democracy very clearly, as I know he will.

“To end with a general comment, there are far too many in politics today who wish to criticise only the countries that fit into a very black and white binary world view. I am not one of them. I believe it is entirely possible—nay, essential—to criticise and hold to account Iran just as much as Saudi Arabia for human rights abuses and attacks on civil liberties. The two are not mutually incompatible. The same applies to the US and Russia and the questionable choices those Governments continue to make domestically and internationally. In fact, our hand is strengthened and our criticism is more valid when we show neither fear nor favour to any country or regime, wherever they may be, whether they be friend or ally, when defending human rights and civil liberties.”

Anyone see Corbyn’s ears burning?



Posted: 21st, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink