Is Anders Behring Breivik’s televised trial giving too much publicity to an extremist?
I cannot imagine how the family and friends of those who were killed last July can watch Anders Breivik justify his actions in the on-going court case in Oslo. I find it difficult enough and I am not directly connected to the case. It’s tragic he’s getting so much publicity. I don’t think we should ban his words from being heard. Even if he was not heard, his views would still be circulated on the internet. But these views are now getting too much publicity, and we must refute them. We must confront the politics of hate and remind people of the horrors of what he did. In this trial, Breivik is enjoying his moment of fame. This was all part of his plan, after all. We need to do much more to remove the mysticism around Breivik and remind everyone – at every opportunity – that he is just a cowardly cold-blooded killer of children and young people.
Nick Lowles is coordinator of Hope Not Hate.
Breivik’s appearance on our TV screens won’t change many minds. Beyond our initial abhorrence at seeing this pastiche fascist (permablond hair, closed-fist salute) claiming self-defence as justification for mass murder, his trial will remind us of the tragedy of Utoeya and not its perpetrator’s twisted reasoning. It is right that Norway should see Breivik visibly brought to justice. This trial will be no party political broadcast for anti-Marxist-Islamists, or whatever it is Breivik claims to be, but an essential part of that judicial process. Breivik’s delusions will be publicly undermined, even if the man himself won’t recognise his faults. Some may fear that we’re giving oxygen to a new, powerful charisma. But Nick Griffin’s failed appearance on Question Time, in 2009, should remind us that enemies of democracy and freedom are rarely able to broadcast their support beyond a narrow, humiliating rump.
Tom Welsh is financial features writer at City A.M.