Over the last few years, there has been much debate over media outlets giving platforms to people with extreme views.

With new platforms emerging all the time, and old ones trying to keep up with the pace of change, it often seems like there is no consistency.

Author, writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch has received praise online for criticising the format of “debating” the rights of minorities. Speaking on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, she discussed the rise of far-right figures like Tommy Robinson being given platforms to promote fringe views with no basis on fact.

The author cited the myth that all men who groom underage girls are Muslim, a view frequently promoted by far-right figures, as an example.

She said:

It’s frustrating when he’s given a platform in the mainstream to promote that because it’s not a legitimate debate.

She then used a comparison to illustrate her point. She said:

We’re in the dangerous position where now, if someone like me – who is anti-racist and racism – is in a debate there’s this need to put me on with a racist as if racism is a legitimate opinion.

If we were talking about rape, you wouldn’t have me on with a pro-rape activist. We accept that pro-rape is not a legitimate stance. But when it comes to racism, pro-racism is now so normalised that I find myself having to debate openly racist people.

After videos of the speech went viral, people online reacted positively to the author’s words, which opened up an important conversation.

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