Tommy Robinson Is Convicted, But He's No Journalist

Tommy Robinson -- or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to use his real name -- has been convicted, again, of contempt of court and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. It wasn't my intention to give him the oxygen of publicity today, but one thing changed that.

As the far-right activist made his way through supporters and the attending press today, he wore a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Convicted of Journalism." The Sky News reporter following him through the horde was later asked about the slogan and offered a reply along the lines that he kicks a ball about in the back garden, but it doesn't make him a professional.

It's the perfect rebuttal to this very clear attempt from Robinson to win popular support for his illegal activity which, at best, is probably summed up as far-right vlogging. It is for this reason that decent journalists need to point out the difference between an anti-Islam, far-right campaigner and proper reporting. 

Given his long criminal record, it is quite surprising that Tommy Robinson fell foul of a very clear and simple rule. He already has custodial convictions for football violence and passport fraud. He had even previously been given a suspended sentence for contempt after filming outside a court in Canterbury, Kent. 

Despite this, a year later he was in Leeds harassing defendants in a sex-grooming gang. As usual, his videos feature a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment. 

The irony that is lost on his supporters was that everything he was seeking to "uncover" was already known by the authorities who were seeking to give defendants, and future defendants, a fair trial. The only person jeopardising bringing the accused gang to justice was Tommy Robinson himself. 

A proper journalist would never do this, and so to portray himself as a defender of freedom -- as a person imprisoned for reporting on a case -- is ludicrous.

The judge, as usual, had placed reporting restrictions on the cases surrounding an alleged sex abuse ring, and that means details cannot be reported on. It really is that simple. The hearings could not be reported because more was to follow and the people involved deserved a fair trial. When the trials were over, the press was free to report on them.

What Tommy Robinson did was take the opportunity to make it appear as if some people were being protected because they were muslim. The truth was, they were either being tried or awaiting trial and so couldn't be identified -- nor could the case they were involved in be reported on. Not until, that is, all hearings were complete and the judge's decision on every defendant was delivered. 

Tommy Robinson broke the law, again, and must now pay the price. His portrayal of himself as a "journalist" just beggars belief.

The journalists were the assembled professionals who reported on the Leeds case, and then today's sentencing, guided by their obligation to be impartial and to respect the law. Tommy Robinson would not have a clue how to achieve either of these prerequisites to bear the title of journalist. 

2 comments about "Tommy Robinson Is Convicted, But He's No Journalist".
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  1. Jeremy Williams from Stratus Communications Ltd, July 12, 2019 at 6:18 a.m.

    In your penultimate paragraph I think that you mean:
    ....broke the law, again, and must NOW pay the price?

  2. Sean Hargrave from Sean Hargrave replied, July 12, 2019 at 6:19 a.m.

    Thanks, that's a great save. Most definitely 'now' rather than 'not' - thanks for flagging this up. It's been amended.

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