28th September 2017   •   opinion
The UK press is already ignoring the 11 suspected neo-Nazis arrested in anti-terror raids yesterday

Image: At a rally by National Action in 2015.
11 men were arrested across the UK yesterday as part of a probe into the banned far-right group National Action.

Six of the men were in north-west England, two in Wales, two in West Yorkshire and one man in Wiltshire. It was clearly a big police operation.

It's important to note these men were arrested under the UK's anti-terrorism laws and some were suspected of preparing terrorist acts.

Five of the six men from the North West are also suspected of terrorism fundraising.

It's also important to note they have not been charged yet and neither have all their names been released, so any news coverage is not prejudicial to a fair trial according to the law. That only kicks in after a suspect is charged.

Yesterday, when the men were arrested, the story was covered across the UK press, albeit briefly. The Sun ran a few paragraphs, the Daily Mail covered it alongside the BBC.

Remember National Action's name

When four British Army servicemen were arrested in raids a few weeks ago, they were also suspected of being members of National Action.

When Zack Davies tried to behead Dr Sarandev Bhambra in a Tesco a few years ago, he was affiliated to National Action too.

This extremist far-right group recently became the first ever far-right group to be banned in Britain.

Many activists who track far-right activity had been urging the government to ban them for years. They had also urged the police to take action against members of this group for inciting violence.

It seems the police is finally taking them seriously. But are the media and politicians?

The media's response: silence

It's striking that a day after these big arrests, most of the UK press has already moved on.

I have said this before and I will keep highlighting this double-standard.

It's worth repeating that since these men have not yet been charged, coverage of the arrests is not prejudicial to any trial.

Yet there are hardly any stories in the UK press today about the arrests, the men or the organisations involved.

Nor are there any questions being asked about the ideology and views that made National Action so prominent.

Contrast that with how some parts of the press covered and labelled Yahyah Farroukh after he was arrested for the Parsons Green attack

Publicly naming and labelling before any charge (he is now free and not suspected of any terrorism) caused his mother to have a heart-attack. She is in critical condition.

But once again, you won't hear many in the national press debate and discuss National Action and its roots.

The British press won't be using phrases like 'white extremism' or asking why young white men are being seduced by neo-Nazism. They won't be asking about the 'hate preachers' that seduce and recruit men into this violent ideology either.

Once again those questions are only asked when the men arrested are Muslims.
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Sunny Hundal has been a journalist and commentator since 2004. He is editor-in-chief of Barfi Culture
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