The BBC has waded into the row over a man carrying an Islamic State flag outside Big Ben, in a broadly uninformative article which seeks to excuse the man carrying the flag of ISIS on London’s streets.
Contributing nothing more to the debate than what was included in the original reporting on the matter, the BBC has sought to explain to Twitter users and others bemoaning the inaction by UK police why exactly the man was not arrested or detained.
But the explanations about the Public Order Act and Terrorism Act have been included in every news media report about the incident thus far – making it seem like the BBC is simply acting to excuse the behaviour, and perhaps indeed excuse support for ISIS.
The article entitled “Why this man wrapped in an ‘Islamic State’ flag was not arrested in central London” says:
The man wasn’t arrested. Here’s why.
Wearing, carrying or displaying an emblem or flag – even an IS flag – isn’t, by itself, an offence.
Police say the flag would need to be used in a way which meant a person was suspected of being a supporter or member of a banned group, such as IS.
But if wearing an ISIS flag doesn’t show support for the terrorist organisation, what does? Would the man, for instance, have to start gunning people down in the street while screaming “Allah hu Akbar” before the BBC felt anything should be done?