Dorothy Byrne should resign
We the undersigned citizens hereby state: President Ahmadinejad of Iran was given public airtime earlier today, December 25th, on Channel 4 at 7.15pm. Today, a day of massive significance to Christians worldwide. We find it an insult that a channel funded in part by the taxpayer should abuse the trust and responsibility it has by inviting this man to speak on Christmas of all days. This man has called for the destruction of the state of Israel. His revolutionary guards in March 2007 kidnapped 15 British sailors and marines. He said that if found guilty, they could face serious punishments under Iranian law. Under Iranian law, espionage (the crime they were accused of) can be punishable by death. This man has also allowed the ritual murders of homosexuals, among others, through the most disgusting and backwards methods for years. On December 24, nine people were executed in Iran, for crimes which could have been anything from rape to drug smuggling. Whilst it is true that freedom of speech is an essential aspect of a free society, to justify this event on that basis would be to miss the point entirely. We fully accept President Ahmadinejad's right to say what he wants, and do not seek to deny him this right. What we do not accept, is inviting him to speak on our TV screens. We cannot fathom how Mrs Byrne thought it appropriate to invite a man like this to talk on what is an important day for Christians worldwide. We believe that Christmas Day is a day particularly important for Christians everywhere. It is a religious day, and should not be used as a platform for politics in this way. It is an insult to Christianity itself. We believe that a man who has overseen the killing of so many innocent people, denied so many the right to live in, and speak with, freedom, and openly called for the destruction of the state of Israel, should NOT be giving an alternative Christmas message. Mrs Byrne believes it important that a man who is the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the Middle East should be listened to. We would like to know why. In 1938, Adolf Hitler was the leader of Europe's most powerful military. Does that mean were this situation to have taken place in some parallel universe of 70 years past, Mrs Byrne and Channel 4 would be inviting him to speak on our screens She also believes it important to hear an 'alternative world view'. We would prefer not to listen to any world view from the perspective of a man who would subject any individual to public hanging, simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. Whilst we in the western world are not perfect, at least we live in a society where freedom and liberty prosper. We'd prefer not to have ties with a leader who has intentions to destroy our allies. Britain is a proud nation, and one of the leading proponents of freedom and liberty in the modern world. We have a number of great allies, among them the United States and Israel, to whom this speech from Ahmadinejad is particularly offensive. President Ahmadinejad's policies, his words and his actions are directly in conflict with the UN Charter on Human Rights, The European Convention on Human Rights, and our own Human Rights Act. We believe, as a group of people committed to equality, liberty and freedom, that we should not extend an olive branch to a man so vehemently opposed to the fundamental rights of all men and women. It is an insult to Jews, it is an insult to homosexuals, and it is an insult to women, among many, many others. We find it immensely embarrassing that Britain would give this kind of a platform to a man who is such a danger to the world. It is also deeply insulting to our American and Israeli allies, two of the world's great democracies, and crucial players in the constant battle we are currently involved in against those who wish to destroy our way of life. Henry Grunwald QC, has said that "the appearance on our television screens of a man whose prejudices are so well-documented and who has openly called for the eradication of another member country of the United Nations is an affront to decency. "To invite him to deliver a Christmas message, even a so-called alternative one, fills me with disgust. Whatever he may say in his 'message', his words on other occasions and his actions towards minority groups in Iran should have disqualified him from filling this television spot." That the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also speak out against Ahmadinejad giving this speech also says much. We echo and welcome Mr Grunwald's comments, and call upon Dorothy Byrne to resign from her position as head of news and current affairs on Channel 4. She has abused the trust and responsibility placed in her by the public, as a major indirect subsidiary of the network. Her actions and words have caused great offence. We all know what President Ahmadinejad stands for, and we expect no less from him than he has shown to date. But for a woman in a position of such responsibility as Mrs Byrne, we feel deeply upset that she has behaved in this way. We feel that her actions are unforgivable, and though an apology would be very welcome and appropriate, the crucial trust that is necessary has been lost.