NPCU PhD student Mark Pope will present today at the Media, Persuasion & Human Rights conference at Bangor University, organised by the Political Studies Association (PSA) Media and Politics Group and supported by BBC Monitoring. Mark will present analysis of the struggle to define the discursive terrain in the debate about the 2012-13 Justice and Security Bill. His abstract is below.
Title: ‘The Justice and Security Bill 2012-2013: the battle for a genre’.
The Justice and Security Act that was passed by the UK Parliament in 2013 provided for civil cases involving national security to be heard in closed proceedings. This Act threatens the principle of open justice by restricting the public scrutiny that civil claims surrounding human rights abuses can provide. In cases related to allegations of UK complicity in torture, the judicial field had previously been a key source of information. This paper considers how this Bill was deliberated in the UK parliament and the news media and also the potential the legislation has to impact on public debate on human rights and security issues in future. It draws on a doctoral thesis exploring UK news discourse on counterterrorism. To gain analytical purchase on this, this research considers the forms of cosmopolitanism that emerge in this context and how they are constructed. The concept of cosmopolitanism not only provides critical purpose and a benchmark to evaluate how the order of discourse could be different, but it is utilised here as an analytical tool. This paper finds that discussion of transnational and diffuse terrorist threats reinforced risk discourses and impacted on the cosmopolitanism that emerged. A focus on risk has diminished concerns for the Other. This, combined with the capacity of the UK Government to influence the order of discourse and structuring of argumentation surrounding the legislative process, ensured the Bill was passed with minimal amendments.