Tony Blair’s new role as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) is in fact supporting an organisation that is a danger to free speech. Paul Nuttall, UKIP Deputy Leader and MEP for the North West, said the ECTR wants public broadcasting companies like the BBC to be forced under legal statute to report the news under “a narrow set of acceptable values”.
He explained: “Tony Blair is joining an organisation that explicitly wants to see legislative control of news output.
“The ECTR sent a framework statute to members of the European Parliament with the intention of it becoming law that frankly caused great concern.
“It included dictatorial powers to demand that ‘public broadcasting (television and radio) stations will devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of tolerance’.
“It also called for private and public media to be controlled by a Media Complaints Commission driven by a narrow set of acceptable values.
“The ECTR also called for certain new ‘thought’ crimes to be regarded as aggravated criminal offences, such as the ‘overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia’.
“This is very dangerous stuff and is utterly against the great tradition of free speech in this country. Do we really want our news reports to be dictated by a political organisation led by Blair?
“Even worse is that Mr Blair’s organisation also proposes re-education programmes, which brings to mind the 1930s.
“It proposes young people ‘convicted of committing crimes listed in paragraph (a) will be required to undergo a rehabilitation programme designed to instil in them a culture of tolerance’.
“It’s very worrying that in championing the ECTR, Mr Blair appears to want to enforce an Orwellian-style ‘Ministry of Information’ regime upon the population without taking it to the ballot box.