Can You Really Be Radicalized by Popular Programs? 

One of the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism schemes flagged popular satirical television programs as having the potential to radicalize viewers. 

Some of Britain’s most popular sitcoms and greatest works of literature were flagged as potential signs of far-Right extremism by a counter-terror program, called the Prevent scheme. Among those referenced was The Lord Of The Rings, The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare, the war film The Dam Busters, and popular comedies Yes Minister and The Thick Of It. 

The safeguarding program released a guide flagging some of the UK’s most popular films, television series, and literature as possible signs of far-right extremism.

It said the works of fiction were ‘key texts’ for ‘white nationalists/supremacists’.

A report by Prevent’s Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) asserted that far-Right extremists promote ‘reading lists’ on online forums.

The list was produced after a major review of Prevent by William Shawcross. His report, published earlier this month, exposed serious failings in Prevent, warning that it applies a ‘double standard’ to Islamist and far-Right threats. The £ 49 million-a-year scheme had prioritized countering far-Right activity above tackling the prime Islamist threat, it added.

The British government’s Prevent program, had a government official review finally published. 

The Prevent’s Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) report uncovered Prevent’s examination into ‘right-wing extremism’. It described how far-Right extremists promoted ‘reading lists’ on online bulletin boards. And it reproduced an image being shared on far-Right corners of the internet that listed ‘important texts’, under pictures of Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, and Oswald Mosley, who led the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.

It included a laundry list of programs, books, and movies. 

Pieces from some of the world’s greatest writers were put forward as possible red flags of extremism, including Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, Tennyson, Kipling, and Edmund Burke.

Prevent also noted a variety of popular British series including BBC’s 1990s political thriller House Of Cards, the spy trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Sharpe.

Author and journalist Douglas Murray, on discovering that one of his books had been referenced in the report, wrote in the publication The Spectator: “A number of books are singled out, the possession or reading of which could point to severe wrong-thinking and therefore potential radicalization… It seems that RICU [Research, Information, and Communications Unit] is so far off-track that it believes that books identifying the problem that it was itself set up to tackle are in fact a part of the problem.”

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Home Secretary made clear that Prevent will now ensure it focuses on the key threat of Islamist terrorism, as well as remaining vigilant on emerging threats. We’ve accepted all 34 recommendations and are committed to protecting our country from the threat posed by terrorism.’

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.