“Calling art terrorism is too simplistic”: Lewisham Young Advisers on #IndexDrawtheLine

Index on Censorship was invited to join a meeting of the Lewisham Young Advisers to talk about our Draw the Line programme and discuss “Can art or journalism ever be terrorism?” and how the right to free speech affects every area of our lives.

The group dove straight into discussions of how, as a society, we should all have the right to free speech, but by voicing your opinions or beliefs there is the risk off offending others, so where do you draw the line? Another example offered by the group was exercising your right to free speech through voting and how non-voters can’t complain about a government if they don’t exercise their right to vote in elections.

The debate swiftly moved into this month’s Draw the Line topic, “Can Art or Journalism ever be terrorism?” The group mostly agreed that a piece of art of a piece of journalism could not be considered terrorism, but raised the question “what defines terrorism?” If it just included an act of violence in pursuit of political ideals then it couldn’t be, but at the same time wasn’t a film or a piece of writing capable of inciting hatred? And couldn’t this lead to acts of destruction? The group suggested that although this was true that it was more likely that this person already held these ideas or at least had the capacity to be violent.

The discussion showed that there is no easy answer to these questions, but it is important to keep having these debates and continuing the discussion of ideas to hear the different sides of every idea.

Get involved with the debate and let us know what you think about ‘Can art of journalism ever be terrorism?’ by tweeting using the hashtag #IndexDrawtheLine.

Lewisham’s Young Advisers are a group of young people who are interested in politics or getting involved in the community. Young advisers have a direct involvement in the process of determining council grant allocation to youth service initiatives, experiencing some of the real complexities of political decision-making and public service delivery.