I've just read, on the BBC
, that someone has been arrested in connection with a video posted on Youtube by non-league football team Crawley Town. The video is for a song which is a reworking of The Specials song "A Message To You Rudi" as "A Message To You Rooney" in anticipation with Crawley's upcoming game with Manchester United on Saturday.
The problem seems to be that a Manchester United fan complained that "the video, posted on YouTube, featured a supporter making aircraft gestures. The 1958 Munich air crash left 23 people dead, including eight players."
The police have said "A 19-year-old man was last night arrested by police in Crawley following complaints about the content of a music video produced to support Crawley Town Football Club in its FA Cup run. The man from Crawley was arrested under the Public Order Act on suspicion of causing harassment, alarm or distress and has been bailed until 25 February pending further inquiries."
Now, I have to admit that I've not seen the video (it's been removed) but I can guess what form the objectionable content takes but I can't think why mocking a tragedy is now a criminal affair as opposed to being merely socially objectionable.
Should this sort of thing be nothing to do with the law or can criminal prosecution be justified if there's reasonable cause to suspect that the actions will lead to violence (say, between opposing football supporters)?
If it's not about the potential for violence and it is actually as the police say about "causing harassment, alarm or distress" does that means that jokes about 9/11, the London bombings or the 2004 Tsunami should be considered criminal as opposed to just distasteful? I'm not sure how the police have interpreted "harassment" in this case anyway as it doesn't seem to fit the normal meaning of the word.
This incident is a sign of where we're heading, or at least where authority is leading. To power the 7/7, Madrid and 9/11 are open sores that could be made worse; so better to make it a criminal offense if you mock, discuss and question, etc. That way the sores will heal and be forgotten.
It is at least a crack-down on free-speech or free expression. Society is being steered as they who are driving know what's round the corner.
Noam Chomsky defended a French writer who wrote that the holocaust never happened. He said he did this not because he thought it true but because he thought it important that someone could say it openly - free speech. If criminalised he saw where it was leading to.
It's a good thread.