Following reports that the British National Party (BNP) is to be invited on BBC’s Question Time, Dr Bart Cammaerts reflects on how the Belgian media handles far right politics.
[The BBC’s chief political advisor, Ric Bailey, explains the thinking behind the decision in this blog post.]
In Belgium and other European countries far right parties have been a part of the political mainstream for decades, suggests Cammaerts.
Cammaerts comments on the differing media schools of thought when it comes to reporting on far right politics:
- these parties should be treated in the same way as other political groups and given the same exposure and attention;
- sharing a platform with these groups legitimises their position.
“Journalists should furthermore be very aware of the dangers of legitimizing extreme right discourses when reporting on the extreme right and when interviewing their representatives,” he writes.
“Pluralism should be radical in a democracy, but for vibrant multi-cultural and ethnical democracies to be able to survive, a common ground relating to basic values such as equality, respect, solidarity, difference, etc. is crucial as well. Popper’s paradox of tolerance sums it up pretty neatly, up until what point can intolerance be tolerated before it destroys tolerance all together?”