Complain to Ofcom regarding Melanie Phillips’ remarks on Sky News on 20th June 2017
Wednesday June 28 2017
Date of Broadcast:
Time of Broadcast:
Melanie Phillips’ misquoting of President Sisi and blanket accusations accusing all Muslims of being violent killers.
On the programme, Melanie Phillips insinuates that amongst Muslims, there are “millions of people to try to kill others.”
She then misquotes Sisi as saying: “We cannot anymore have a situation where 1.6 billion Muslims are trying to murder the rest of the world.”
He actually asked a rhetorical question: “Does this mean that 1.6 billion people (Muslims) should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants”.
Considering the views she expressed and the accuracy of the information she provided, she breached the Broadcaster’s Code of Practice in the following ways:
2.2 & 5.2: Misquoting Sisi is materially misleading and has not been acknowledged, nor corrected by Sky News.
3.1, 3.2, & 3.3: Melanie Philips’ inaccurate claims that criminalise all Muslims as violent killers fuels current tensions and, for some, justifies violence and hatred against communities that are already vulnerable and stigmatised.
Recent times have seen surges in Islamophobic attacks – increases reaching 500%. According to the MET, there were 1,264 Islamophobic hate crimes reported in 2016/17 – a 13.3% increase from 2015/16. Meanwhile, 2016/17 saw 143,920 UK derogatory and anti-Islamic Tweets – 393 a day. Prejudice, intimidation and violence against Muslim communities has become firmly established and normalised. Furthermore, the attack on Finsbury Park has been described as a “revenge attack” by many right-wing media outlets.
In this context, her assertions must be seen as:
- Hate speech.
- Likely to encourage the commissions of crime and/or disorder.
- Derogatory treatment of groups and communities.
7.1: Criminalising a whole community on the basis of religion is clearly unjust and unfair treatment.
Considering these breaches, we urge Ofcom to take firm and immediate action.