Entertainment News

  • 13 May 2014, 5:34

TV Programmes Like 24 'Are Glorifying Torture'

Television programmes, including 24 and Homeland, may be partly responsible for almost a third of people in the UK thinking torture can be justified, according to human rights campaigners.

Amnesty International conducted a poll on attitudes to torture in 21 countries, and found 29% of those surveyed in the UK think torture is sometimes necessary and acceptable to protect the public.

That compares with 25% in Russia and 15% in Argentina. 

The research, which asked the opinions of 21,000 people, also found 44% of those polled in Britain do not believe there should be a complete prohibition on torture.

Describing the findings as "alarming", Amnesty International claims some TV programmes like 24, Homeland and Spooks have "glorified torture to a generation".

At the launch of the charity's new Stop Torture campaign, Secretary General Salil Shetty told Sky News the depiction of abuse leads to it being "normalised" and supports the perception that it is in the interests of national security. 

"Most of the people being tortured in the world are not terrorists - they're not ticking timebombs," he said.

"Most of them are poor people?petty criminals in some cases. 

"And the only reason they're getting tortured is because the people who torture them get away with it."

The organisation says it has recorded torture and other forms of ill-treatment in at least 141 countries over the last five years. 

Some 27 different types of torture were reported during 2013/14, including needles being forced under a victim's fingernails, joints being drilled and boiling water being poured over the body. 

Supporting the campaign is activist-turned-Congresswoman Loretta Rosales, who was tortured in the Philippines in the 1970s. 

She was held for a month and during that time says she was electrocuted, waterboarded and sexually abused. 

"It's to kill your spirit. It's to dehumanise you. Thank God I survived. My own personal resolve was greater than their inhumanity," she told Sky News.

Ms Rosales said TV dramas are shaping the public's attitude towards torture.

"The media is very powerful in influencing the minds of people," she said. "And when you see it on television - that torture's fine?and you can get away with it. 

"It legitimises the practice. And makes the people immune to the weight of human rights violations being committed."