Aletho News


UK Will Make Facebook Responsible for Harmful Content as Ofcom is Set to Have More Powers – Report

Sputnik – February 12, 2020

Facebook and some other social media companies have recently come under fire for failing to remove allegedly misleading and harmful content from their platforms. Now, British regulatory authority Ofcom is reportedly set to be given a role in policing social media companies.

Britain’s media watchdog Ofcom will have more power in regulating social media companies in the UK, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat, and will make them accountable for harmful content, the BBC reported citing Digital Secretary Baroness Nicky Morgan.

Social media companies have long defended their rights to control unacceptable content on their platforms related to violence, terrorism or child abuse, but according to reports, this is now going to change in the UK.

“There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that’s changing”, Nicky Morgan, Baroness Morgan of Cotes, was quoted as saying. “I think they understand now that actually regulation is coming”.

The information has not been confirmed by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport but it was reported that on Wednesday the government will present a draft of the new legislation related to online harm and will announce Ofcom’s new powers. So far, the authority has only been entitled to regulate British media, not social media platforms or internet safety. The news could cause some concerns among the public about potential censorship over online content.

Facebook has long been criticised for failing to take responsibility for content on its platform, including its refusal to remove political ads that may contain misinformation, citing its monitoring, rather than regulatory role.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has maintained that the company was still accountable for removing harmful content related to child exploitation, terrorism, or violence from the its platform. However, in relation to political ads, he cited the policy of free speech and insisted that social media users were still able to make up their own minds about the political agenda.

February 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

The Incredible Disappearance of Shai Masot

By Craig Murray | June 2, 2019

A Google news search reveals that not one single mainstream media outlet has mentioned Shai Masot in 2019. Not even once.

Yet the main political news story the last two days has been the suspension of Labour’s Peter Willsman for “anti-semitism” for making the suggestion that the “anti-semitism” witch-hunt is promoted by the Israeli-Embassy. This has been demonstrably a massive story:

The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands who will read this article know who Shai Masot is and know why his activities are absolutely central to the Willsman story.

And here is the truly terrifying thing.

The overwhelming majority of the mainstream media “journalists” who produced those scores of stories about Willsman also know exactly who Shai Masot is and why his activities are central to the Willsman narrative. And every single one of those journalists chose to self-censor the crucial information that casts a shade over the “Willsman is an anti-semite” line. Every single one. Their self-censorship is not necessarily a conscious and singular act, though in many cases it will be. They are simply imbued with the line they are supposed to adopt, the facts they are supposed to ignore, to forward their career and remain accepted in their social group.

Because the plain truth is that the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby (part 1 below) showed to the entire political world that Mr Willsman’s thesis about the involvement of the Israeli Embassy in British politics and its objectives is broadly true. It says something about the current dystopia that is the UK, that this truly shocking documentary did not result in any official action against Joan Ryan (who has thankfully since hurtled herself into the political abyss), but that pointing out the undeniable truth about Israeli Embassy interference in British politics is an expulsion offence.

I should be very happy to go on the BBC and say this and so would many other people. Yet the mainstream media have been unable to quote this point of view from a single person. Yesterday’s 12 noon news on the BBC had Willsman as the top story with interviews with first Charlie Falconer, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion, then a six minute live rant from extreme zionist John Mann, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion. There was no attempt to balance this at all with a remotely sane guest. To be fair, the presenter did baulk at some of Mr Mann’s more frothy mouthed utterances, but the BBC knew precisely what they would get when they invited him, and the decision to have a major news item with only two intervewees, both from the same side of the argument, was a quite deliberate one.

This was a much worse example of lack of balance than those for which Russia Today is routinely censured by Ofcom and threatened with closure. But doubtless as it was a pro-Israel and anti-Corbyn lack of balance (Corbyn was condemned by both interviewees) Ofcom will take no action whatsoever. I am however putting in a complaint to Ofcom about this specific news item and I urge you to do the same.

Al Jazeera’s exposure of Shai Masot led to his quietly being removed from the UK, however he was but the tip of the iceberg. With my FCO inside knowledge I could show that the Israeli Embassy has an extraordinary and disproportionate number of “technical and administrative staff” like Masot, and that there was a mystery over what kind of visa he had to live in the UK. The FCO refused to answer my questions and no mainstream media “journalist” was willing to pursue the case.

The readership of this blog has grown fast over the last two years. I therefore do recommend that you read this blog post which ties in Masot’s activities to the Mossad collaboration of Liam Fox and Adam Werritty – which was the real story behind the Werritty scandal, again completely hidden by the mainstream media. I should mark my debt to the late Paul Flynn MP in helping me prove that fact beyond dispute, as you will see if you read the article. Not one of the media and political hypocrites who so recently eulogised Paul was willing to support him in this or even mention the facts that he had winkled out. Jeremy Corbyn also helped me expose the Werritty/Israel links in his pre-leadership days by asking parliamentary questions.

I do blame Jeremy for not taking a more robust line. Genuine anti-semitism should always be called out and condemned, and it plainly exists, even in the Labour Party. But the open attempt to stifle all criticism of Israel, and in effect to make adherence to Zionism a pre-condition for membership of the Labour Party – or indeed acceptance in wider society – is a vicious form of authoritarianism that should have been repudiated robustly from day one.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

GWPF Criticises Ofcom For Getting It Wrong On IPCC And Extreme Weather

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | April 10, 2018

The GWPF has responded to a controversial ruling from OFCOM:

London, 10 April: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has criticised Ofcom for its ruling against a BBC interview with Lord Lawson.

In his interview with the BBC’s Today Programme on 10 August 2017, Lord Lawson pointed out that while some extreme events had increased, others had diminished. Overall, however, extreme weather events had not increased according to the IPCC:

“For example, for example he [Al Gore] said that there has been a growing, increase which is continuing, in extreme weather events. There hasn’t been. All the experts say there hasn’t been. The IPCC, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the sort of voice of the consensus, concedes that there has been no increase in extreme weather events. Extreme weather events have always happened. They come and go. And some kinds of extreme weather events, there’s a particular time increase, whereas others, like tropical storms, diminish”.

Lord Lawson’s statement was based on the IPCC’s key findings in its 2013 5th Assessment Report (see summary of IPCC conclusions at

  • “Overall, the most robust global changes in climate extremes are seen in measures of daily temperature, including to some extent, heat waves. Precipitation extremes also appear to be increasing, but there is large spatial variability”
  • “There is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century”
  • “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”
  • “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”
  • “In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems”
  • “In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950”
  • “In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low”

Without providing any evidence to justify disputing the IPCC’s conclusions, Ofcom claimed that Lawson’s statement about extreme weather was incorrect and not sufficiently challenged by the BBC presenter during the interview.

Ofcom, however, appear to base its ruling on information from unnamed complainants, the BBC (and possibly from other unnamed sources) without publishing that information or where it obtained it from. As a result, nobody is able to see it and judge its credibility. It did not ask Lord Lawson for any information regarding his statements.

That Ofcom should judge on scientific matters without justifying their decision sets a worrying precedent concerning the oversight of journalists.

Presenters are not experts and cannot be expected to be. For them to provide a detailed examination of competing viewpoints would be a burden on them and a limitation of the freedom of broadcasters and the BBC, and severely inhibit live discussions, as well as investigative journalism.

It certainly does appear to be extremely bad judgment by OFCOM to have accepted the word of some anonymous complainant, without attempting to ascertain the true facts, or get the GWPF’s views.

One wonders whether there is also the hand of someone at the BBC, like Harrabin, guiding the OFCOM judgment here, as an attempt to enforce more discipline on their news staff, who might otherwise be tempted to seek out dissenting views.

It is clear that OFCOM have fallen into the same groupthink we have seen lately, and automatically assumed that extreme weather must be on the increase.

I wait with baited breath for OFCOM to criticise the BBC next time they interview Al Gore, and fail to challenge the palpable nonsense he spouts. But I fear I will be waiting a long time!

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

UK TV regulator writes to RT, says it may consider whether channel’s license is ‘fit and proper’

RT | March 13, 2018

Britain’s media regulator Ofcom says it will “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses” if it’s determined there was “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK” in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

In a statement, Ofcom said: “As the independent UK broadcasting regulator, Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that broadcast licensees remain fit and proper to hold their licences.

“We have today written to ANO TV Novosti, holder of RT’s UK broadcast licences, which is financed from the budget of the Russian Federation. This letter explained that, should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper.”

“The letter to RT said that we would carry out our independent fit and proper assessment on an expedited basis, and we would write to RT again shortly setting out details of our process.”

RT said in a statement that it disagreed with the position taken by Ofcom. “Our broadcasting has in no way changed this week from any other week, and continues to adhere to all standards.

“By linking RT to unrelated matters, Ofcom is conflating its role as a broadcasting regulator with matters of state. RT remains a valuable voice in the UK news landscape, covering vital yet neglected stories and voices, including those of the many MPs and other UK public figures who have been shut out of public discourse by the mainstream media.”

When the threat of having its license revoked first came to light, RT said the banning of the channel would do “away with any concept of press freedom in the UK.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May gave Moscow one day on Monday to explain the alleged use of a military-grade nerve agent, which the UK claims came from Russia to poison ex-double agent Skripal and his daughter Yulia. May says it’s “highly likely” Moscow was responsible.

She alleges the attack was either a direct act by the Russian state on Britain, or the Russian government allowed its nerve agent ‘Novichok’ to get into the wrong hands. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘What about freedom of speech?’ Twitter fury over MPs’ calls to ban RT

After the statement in the House of Commons, Labour MP Chris Bryan asked May: “Can we just stop Russia Today [RT] broadcasting its propaganda in this country?” The PM responded by saying she would update MPs on “further measures” later this week.

The threat of banning RT led to a backlash from some on Twitter. RT contributors, viewers and members of the public speaking out against the proposal with some calling it an attack on “freedom of speech.”

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Who’s watching the watchdog?: Ofcom & the manufacture of consent

By Afshin Rattansi | RT | September 21, 2015

It will come as no surprise to anyone that a watchdog set up to hound mainstream UK broadcast media finds RT’s output difficult to deal with. Doubtless today’s Ofcom rulings will see other media outlets relishing RT being brought to heel.

But anyone who takes the trouble to look at the detail will see such outlets are on very flimsy ground.

Not only does Ofcom concede that RT has a mission to bring valuable diversity of perspective, the watchdog also makes clear that its musings on ‘Ukraine’s Refugees’ – one of the shows found to be in breach of the Code – are not the result of a complaint from any our many viewers. In fact, Ofcom took it upon itself to complain after “routine monitoring” of RT.

Personally, I am delighted that the program gave a voice to those caught in the violence that would otherwise have gone unheard and unmentioned by mainstream media, which has been steadfastly supporting the post-coup government in Kiev.

I’d also note that Ofcom’s attention is not always misdirected. Does anyone remember what they came out with before the incumbent, Sharon White, took the reins? A four-year inquiry by Ofcom, the results of which recently became public, uncovered nearly 50 breaches of statutory regulation by mainstream channels the BBC, CNN and CNBC. Thanks to Ofcom we know that these outlets had been screening politically-lobbied content without informing viewers.

As usual, there is a background to today’s stories that you may find goes unreported elsewhere.

Dodgy editorial procedures from the BBC, CNN and CNBC aren’t as good a story as RT being ‘guilty’. Mainstream transgressions are forgotten as soon as they are revealed. The Independent, which so brazenly referred to the BBC’s Code-breaching content as “propaganda” in a headline in mid-August, had already blissfully moved on when reporting on the Corporation’s plan to expand its foreign broadcasting barely a fortnight later.

Does anyone seriously think that big UK broadcasters adequately report on those opposing mainstream political opinion? That’s why so many BBC journalists were taken aback when UKIP and Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the scene.

The BBC wouldn’t even allow charities to ask for money to save those in Gaza because of pressure from those against the Palestinian side in the conflict that rages on in the Middle East. Alex Salmond, former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told us on Saturday’s edition of RT’s Going Underground that he was appalled by the anti-independence bias of the BBC in the run-up to the Scottish Independence Referendum. He branded the BBC “a disgrace to public broadcasting.”

Needless to say, the mainstream Scotsman newspaper duly ran a report that he shouldn’t be criticizing the BBC on RT – as if RT, the internet’s favorite television news station, should be boycotted as part of a UK mainstream McCarthyite witch hunt against the channel.

Meanwhile Corbyn, who had just won Labour’s leadership in a landslide, was summarily branded by the UK press as the Kremlin’s “useful idiot” for criticizing Western interventionist policy on RT – in an interview in which he mentioned Russia not once.

And while we’re about it, why are the so-called liberal radio, print and internet media so keen to promote the highly-contentious adjudications of Ofcom against RT? They don’t call for the BBC to be shut down because it runs fraudulent competitions as part of Comic Relief, Sport Relief and Children in Need? Again, Ofcom did good work on this, investigating shady behavior. The regulator revealed “the BBC deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly.”

License-Fee payers were duly ordered to stump up hundreds of thousands of pounds for BBC failures. Thanks to Ofcom, the whole thing ended up costing mainstream channels more than £11 million (now US$17 million) in 2008.

But when it comes to political controversies where the UK government is following US State Department policy, things are a little different. There are almost too many mainstream UK TV reports to choose from when it comes to proving the double standards of Ofcom over the politically-contentious issue of Ukraine. […]

You can see just how “impartial” their coverage of Ukraine is here and here.

The fact is that Ukraine was destabilized by the West – we know this because Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department said so:

But that side of the story was absent from scores of mainstream broadcasts which it seems Ofcom decided not to watch or ‘monitor’.

Ukraine, though, is not the only tragedy we should be focusing on.

The Syrian refugee crisis was caused by destabilization of the Middle East by Western powers. Do you see reporters telling you that side of the story when they file reports on refugees? Could it be that without this context, mainstream journalists are, yet again, softening up public opinion for war? Today, establishment media is no longer reporting on WHY there are refugees – merely that there ARE refugees.

There is a terrible irony here as they skirt standards of impartiality. Broadcasters are, in effect, using the tragedy of dead children washing up on beaches to prepare the public to support a war that will lead to more dead children washing up on beaches.

If Britain and the US deploy their troops to depose President Assad of Syria it will be a part of a broader interventionist strategy. That’s why reporting needs to be accurate and more balanced on Syria and Ukraine – so that Americans and Brits can decide for themselves on the evidence whether military action is warranted. RT will show both sides of the argument, but – more importantly – give you the other side of the story, the one you’d be hard-pressed to get from the British or American MSM. Then you can make up your own mind.

One of the world’s greatest journalists, John Pilger, expressed his fear on RT’s Going Underground that the embrace of elites and media on the issue of Ukraine is pushing the world towards nuclear war.

It is a concern shared by the ‘Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ which moved their Doomsday clock closer to midnight as Obama officials engineered the coup d’état in Ukraine.

What’s needed now is an urgent conference involving journalists, unions and NGOs to fight censorship in Britain. It must not involve compromised NGOs such as Index on Censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists etc., who have proved time and time again to be one-sided about censorship. It should implore Ofcom to uphold the principle that news, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due fairness to all positions, not just the ones belonging to the foreign policy establishment.

On a personal level, I almost empathize with Ofcom’s position. It is understandable that, fed on a constant diet of mainstream UK media, they might find it hard to digest RT. I hope, in time, they will join the hundreds of millions around the world who tune in to watch RT on TV, YouTube and online in appreciating journalism that gives a place to those who are, too often, robbed of a voice.

September 22, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

BLM fails to justify Press TV ban

Press TV – May 20, 2012

German media regulatory body BLM has failed to provide legal justification for its decision to ban Press TV, after the channel files a lawsuit against the organization.

Press TV’s legal team says it has very strong evidence against BLM’s decision to ban the channel from a satellite platform in Europe.

It also says BLM has provided the court with a poor defense in which it has failed to provide any legal justification for its controversial move. The channel has called the ban “illegal.” And, in the lawsuit, Press TV has claimed compensation.

BLM took Press TV off the SES Astra satellite platform in early April. The media regulator claimed Press TV had no license to broadcast. However, the channel’s legal team has submitted documents to the court that prove Press TV can broadcast under German law.

An administrative court in Germany has accepted Press TV’s argument and the legal procedures have begun. The court has not yet specified a date for the hearings, but they are expected to start soon.

The channel has learned that the satellite platform is also taking legal action against BLM. Press TV has criticized German authorities for their attempt to silence the voice of the alternative news channel.

Press TV was taken off the air in Britain earlier this year, almost two years after the British government’s media regulatory body, Ofcom, launched a politically-charged battle against the channel.

According to Wikileaks’ cables, American and British officials discussed ways of limiting the operations of Press TV in a London meeting in 2010.

May 20, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 2 Comments

France refuses to give Press TV team visas; no explanation offered

Press TV – April 16, 2012

The French Embassy in Tehran has refused to issue visas for a Press TV team that wanted to participate in the annual MIPTV and MIPDOC film festivals in Cannes, France, Press TV reports.

The Press TV team completed the application procedure on February 15 and was told by the visa section of French Embassy in Tehran that the initial response would come on March 7, 2012.

The embassy, however, gave no clear answer to the application until April 9 when a French Embassy employee contacted Press TV to announce that visa requests for the team had been rejected. No clear explanation was given for the rejection.

Press TV officials also wrote a letter to French Ambassador to Tehran Bruno Foucher asking him to provide them with a proper explanation. The French embassy, however, gave no answer to the letter.

MIPDOC and MIPTV festivals are purely cultural events which were held in the southern French port city of Cannes from March 30 to April 4, 2012.

Press TV has been regularly participating in both festivals since 2008.

In addition to Press TV crews, eyewitnesses said, it has become a habit for the French embassy to refrain from issuing visas to Iranian university professors and even physicians who want to participate in scientific events in France.

Experts believe that the measure is a clear sign that the incumbent French government is not willing to continue cultural and media cooperation with Iran.

This is not the first time that a major member of the European Union has taken hostile positions on Press TV and its staff.

In late January, the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) took a questionable measure and without offering a valid response to the Press TV CEO’s letters, revoked the channel’s broadcasting license and finally removed it from the Sky platform. Before revoking Press TV license, Ofcom had hit Press TV with a fine of 100 thousand pounds.

The British media regulator stepped up pressure on Press TV after the news channel covered British police crackdowns on anti-austerity protesters in London and other British cities.

Also, on April 3, under pressure from the German government, Munich media regulatory office (BLM) made an illegal decision to remove Press TV from the SES Astra satellite platform.

Vice President of the SES Platforms Services Stephane Goebel wrote in an e-mail to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting officials that the BLM had asked Press TV be immediately removed from the platform claiming that the channel did not have a license for broadcast in Europe.

Experts believe that such moves are clearly part of a scheme orchestrated by the West to silence the voice of the Iranian English-language channel.

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 2 Comments