By Umar Zeshan Bhatti

On the 28th of September 2018, known right-wing provocateur, Tommy Robinson was invited to appear on Sky TV, an international media channel to shine a biased and negative light on the one group he loves to hate; Muslims.

The Interview 

Tommy Robinson’s Interview with Sky News 

Why Is This A Problem?

Robinson’s supporters will say that he is using his right to freedom of speech and expression, as set out under the Human Rights Act 1998. However, whilst this is true, he is also further sowing his agenda of hatred, division and islamophobia onto the British people against Muslims, something he doesn’t seem to care about. 

During his interview, Robinson made it clear that he does not care if his message ‘incited fear’ of Muslims. Yet according to the Racial and Religious Act 2006, stirring up hatred against an individual on the basis of his/her race or religious background can land a person for up to seven years in prison. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/1/introduction

The words and actions of Robinson is not the work of a delinquent or football hooligan but can have a much deeper impact. For example, last year’s Finsbury Mosque attack terrorist, Darren Osborne, appears to have been inspired by right-wing material, including that of Tommy Robinson. With this in mind, why should we not hold Robinson in the same ‘’esteem’’ as hate preachers like Anjem Choudary, Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada and many others. Why he is not held in this regard and why the media continues to provide him with a platform is beyond me? There is no rational basis for such people to be allowed to negatively impact society.

BIRGMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY 6: Tommy Robinson, former founder of the English Defence League, addresses the crowd during the ‘silent march’ organized by Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) UK supporters in Birmingham, England on February 6, 2016. (Photo by Lee Harper/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Rising above the atmosphere of hate and division, is UK-based Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. On the subject of the role of the media in fuelling hatred, he said ‘‘there is no doubt that the media plays a huge role in influencing public opinion and so the media should use this power responsibly – as a force for good and as a force for peace.’’ He further argues that ‘‘Publicity is the oxygen sustaining most terrorist or extremist groups’’

The media possess a vast amount of power and Tommy Robinson was, and will no doubt continue to be, given the opportunity to speak his mind and gain more support for his cause, by speaking on National media platforms, which indirectly legitimise his cause.

Through fair and ethical reporting, the media, unquestionably, has power to change the narrative and present the public with a more accurate lens through which it can view society. However, on this occasion, as we are increasingly seeing, large swathes of the mainstream media have sided with the far-right and fed into their propaganda by spreading their material on National television.

Umar Zeshan Bhatti is currently studying Law and is interested in Human Rights. He is trying to challenge the negative perception of Muslims in the media and he is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. Follow him on Twitter @UmarZBhatti97