Information about Trove user: SiobhanPedroza

View user profile in the Trove forum

Tags

Display options

top tags

Recent comments

Display options

Text corrections

No text corrections contributed yet

Recent merge/splits

WhenSummaryCommentDetails

Read the merging and splitting guidelines.

Your lists

  1. Body of Historical Evidence
    List
    Public

    Question: To what extent was Margaret Thatcher's media censorship a loss of liberty rather than a deterrent for terrorism?

    My main archival collection for my question was Trove newspaper articles from 1985-1995 as Margaret Thatcher enacted the media censorship in 1988 and the IRA settled their peace negotiations between 1994 and 1995. Thus, this particular archival collection covers from the time the censorship was put into place to when the IRA called their ceasefire and I will be able to find sources to help answer my question.

    Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990 and head of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Thatcher clashed with the IRA due to their conflicting ideologies and her hardline policies against Ireland.

    Thatcher enacted the media censorship after Irish Republican militants killed her ally Airey Neave in a car bomb in 1979 and when they came close to killing her at a Conservative Party Conference in Brighton 1984. Thatcher’s intention for the censorship was addressed at the Brighton Conference, to which she famously quotes that she hopes the censorship “starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend”. However, many in the media industry saw the censorship as a loss of liberty rather than a deterrence towards terrorism.

    Source 13 outlines the catalyst for the censorship, which was BBC’s airing of ‘At The Edge of the Union’, a documentary investigation of the violence in Derry by contrasting the lives and ideologies of the two political leaders of the time - Martin McGuinness, IRA and Sinn Fein Nationalist Party member and Gregory Campbell who was a militant loyalist. Home Secretary at the time, Leon Britain, wrote to the BBC stating that the “BBC would be giving a valuable platform to those who evinced an ability to murder indiscriminately”. An emergency meeting was made between the Board of Governors where they banned the film to be shown. Despite these efforts, the BBC still aired the film, creating great controversy and cementing the media censorship.

    The censorship was seen as a “liberalising measure” in source 5 as the moves to restrict the voices of the accused falls into the ominous pattern of a free speech issue. In source 1, there is a definite opinion from those affected by the censorship that it is a loss of liberty through the tone of great upheaval. Matthew Hoffman, assistant editor of the Independent Newspaper who edited Index on Censorship’s special issue said freedom had “diminished everywhere”, while Ronald Dworkin, professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University counteracts Thatcher’s statement that the censorship was enacted for security measures with "the sad truth is that the very concept of liberty is being challenged and corroded by the Thatcher government”. The emotive language from the initial reaction of the censorship helps to answer my question as it proves that the censorship was felt as a loss of liberty widespread over the media community.

    After the censorship was announced, the actions and violence of the IRA only grew stronger. Sources 2, 8, 9 and 11 are all examples of the heightened violence the UK faced from the IRA. These articles clearly demonstrate the non-existent impact the censorship had on the Army. Not only did they continue bombing, but it escalated. They were now causing violence on symbolic events such as Remembrance day, noted in source 2, which indicates the fearlessness and ruthlessness of the army. The emphatic statement of IRA leaders, stating they will “stand firm” against those who “exploit” for their own political gains sends a clear message to Thatcher that she did not threaten them, demonstrating the lack of deterrence the censorship was having.

    Sources 3, 4, 12 and 14 all clearly show how the censorship did nothing to spark peace talks or end the violence. Source 4 shows, through the eyes of Tony Blair’s chief of staff, that the censorship held no impact in deterring or ending the IRA’s violence. It was Tony Blair’s peaceful approach which led the IRA to agree to meet and negotiate a ceasefire. Source 12 delves extensively on how Thatcher caused more damage than good in her efforts to deter terrorism. Gerry Adams, representative of the IRA, passionately states that Thatcher’s “espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering”, while Seamus Mallon, Northern Ireland’s deputy leader from 1998 to 2001, claimed “She didn’t ever seem to be able to realise that when a government starts to act like a paramilitary organisation then the paramilitary organisation essentially wins”, demonstrating the lack of deterrence her actions of censorship had. This is extended in source 14, where Gerry Adams discusses the upset the censorship had within the right wing press and his repetition of the adjective “absurd”, along with the repetition of the adjective “joke” in source 3 cements how Thatcher’s censorship was more of a loss of liberty rather than a deterrence for terrorism.

    12 items
    created by: public:SiobhanPedroza 2016-09-08
    User data
  2. IRA
    List
    Public

    Books, articles, sources, regarding the history, formation and events of the Irish Republican Army

    8 items
    created by: public:SiobhanPedroza 2016-07-25
    User data
  3. Research Proposal
    List
    Public

    12 items
    created by: public:SiobhanPedroza 2016-10-06
    User data

Information on Trove's new list feature can be found here.