Terror On Our Streets, Ostriches In The Media

The recent Parliamentary report into the bombing of The Manchester Arena last March criticised MI5 and police for failing to properly monitor or hinder the terrorist Salman Abedi.

For a day or so, the slaughter of 22 people was quite high up the media agenda. Unsurprisingly, it was more or less forgotten by the weekend.

What has remained is a willful blindness of journalists to examine the role of Theresa May in the horror.

While state security could certainly have done better at tracking Abedi, they could be taking a hit that should more rightly be aimed at the Prime Minister. She lifted control order on the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group years before the bombing.

The security laxness was therefore significantly influenced by instruction from the political class. Imagine Jürgen Klopp putting Mo Salah in goal for a week. It would be remiss to blame the striker if Liverpool went on to lose 5 – 1.

The only mainstream journalist covering this sufficiently at the time was John Pilger. Hisarticle from the period remains a crucial read.

Suppressing the truth about terror is a habit for our political and media elites. When The Lib Dems agreed to support UK military action in Syria during the coalition years, they did so on condition of an investigation being launched into who was funding extremism terror in the UK. The report was completed last year and duly suppressed. There was some coverage in liberal media before, again, it was forgotten. As much as we mention this at Media Alert, it does little to counterbalance the appalling failings of The Fourth Estate to carry out basic function. In any democracy worthy of the name, Theresa May lifting of Control Orders on a terror group linked to such an atrocity would have raised severe and long-running questions and a major crisis in government.

When the establishment lets politicians get away with this kind of behaviour, it sets the standard for worse behaviour to come.

It should not be left to independent journalists, campaigners and activists to bring what should be major scandals to attention.

Stephen Durrant

The Media Fund