PRIME MINISTER – MEDIA COVERAGE OF TERRORISM – 5 January 2016
Dr Julian Lewis: Did the Council discuss how free societies with free media should react to terrorist propaganda? The latest Daesh atrocity video seems to feature a well-known British extremist and a brainwashed child. Does the Prime Minister agree that although the broadcast media seem to have handled this material with appropriate restraint, some of the press, in the pictorial coverage, has been playing into the hands of the terrorist propagandists?
[The Prime Minister: First, on what my right hon. Friend says about what Britain is doing in the EU to counter terrorist propaganda, we have taken the expertise that we have built up here and are sharing that with other European countries as we set up some new organisations. It is very important to win this battle of ideas – in some ways it is a battle of ideas, as we faced in the cold war. I am not sure I go all the way with him on what he said about “either television or newspapers”. As he said, television media have been responsible. I do not think it would be right to have some sort of blanket ban on showing any parts of these videos. Indeed, showing a part of these videos and just how ghastly and brutal this organisation is, for instance in the way it is using children, reminds everybody, not least those who might be tempted by this radical organisation, of just what a sick organisation it is. On the whole, the media have been fairly responsible about this, and I think it is much better to have that form of self-restraint than anything else.]