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London, Sunday, December 8, 2008
The Observer Diary, by Oliver Marre
Irving deserve this platform?
HAVING approached him for
Celebrity Big Brother and then decided against
including him, Channel 4 still seems determined to
give the controversial historian David
Irving, once imprisoned in Austria for
Holocaust denial, plenty of airtime.
On Tuesday night, C4's offshoot channel, More4,
is showing a 90-minute documentary, An
Independent Mind, in celebration of the 60th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
It is publicising it heavily, with a special
screening the night before at the Royal Society of
Arts, hosted by Channel 4 News's foreign
correspondent Jonathan Miller. According to
the puff: 'This unique film gives a voice to eight
characters from around the world who have fought to
exercise their right to free speech.'
What C4 doesn't say is
that the film's eighth and final hero is Irving.
The timing is fortunate for Irving, if not for
the rest of us, since he's currently trying to
flog his self-published misery memoir.
The Board of
Deputies of British Jews tells me the programme
should not be shown. 'Whatever airtime David Irving
gets is too much,' says chief executive Jon
Benjamin. 'Here, he once again seems to be
casting himself in the role of victim.'
Deputies says that although Irving has a right
to free speech, it should be tempered by
objects to being called a Holocaust denier and is
in the habit of writing to newspapers that do
so, I've gone in search of a better
personal website offers Hitler's walking stick for
sale, refers repeatedly to Jews as 'nice folks'
(including during a magnificent attempt to ally
himself to John Cleese, because the comedian
is divorcing his wife, who is Jewish) and carries
links to his flattering biographies
of Hitler and Goebbels.
second thoughts about publicly censoring Mr
December 14, 2003
Even Irving must
know the meaning of 'free speech'
column's disclosure that a More4 documentary to
celebrate free speech included a contribution from
David Irving, once imprisoned in Austria for
there have been two demonstrations organised by
Unite Against Fascism and criticism from Deborah
Lipstadt, the American historian
unsuccessfully sued for libel by Irving when she
called him a Holocaust
week's article I wrote that Jon
Benjamin, chief executive of the Board
of Deputies of British Jews, said: 'Whatever
airtime David Irving gets is too much.'
The film's director, Rex Bloomstein, has
given an interview attempting to condemn this as
'We certainly have not called for a ban and
indeed have had no contact with Channel 4,'
'The point is that David Irving has the right to
free speech within the bounds of the law and he
should realise that his critics are entitled to
exercise the same rights.'
Irving invited on Celebrity Big
Deborah Lipstadt's double-take: Has
someone lost their mind?
Observer: Protests at Irving's audition for
Celebrity Big Brother
Deborah Lipstadt Libel action
film to be directed by Ridley Scott, about David
Irving and Deborah Lipstadt and the famous
Holocaust denial trial
Deutsche Welle (German propaganda radio)
writer Ronald Harwood working on a film of the
trial of David Irving