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TV Shows Like "Homeland" Are Making Torture "Acceptable"

The findings of a global survey have been described as "alarming".

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One in three Britons think torture is acceptable in certain circumstances, according to a poll by Amnesty International – and the glorification of torture on television is partially to blame.

A higher proportion of British people believe that torture can be justified in the interests of national security, when compared with people from Russia, Brazil and Argentina.

However 56% of Brits polls believed that torture is not acceptable under any circumstance.

Amnesty commissioned the survey to gauge worldwide attitudes to torture, with 21,000 people in 21 countries asked their views by the polling company GlobeScan.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, expressed surprise at the high figures and suggested that television shows such as Homeland, Spooks and 24 are partially responsible.

Showtime / Via

“Programmes like 24, Homeland and Spooks have glorified torture to a generation – but there’s a massive difference between a dramatic depiction by screenwriters, and its real-life use by government agents in torture chambers," she said.


The human rights organisation has also released a new report, "Torture in 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises", which states that 27 different types of torture were recorded in 2013-2014.

FOX / Via

These include beatings with fists, rifle butts, wooden clubs and other objects; needles being forced underneath a victim’s fingernails; prisoner having their joints drilled; boiling water being poured onto the body; the administering of electric shocks; the stubbing out of cigarettes on the body; water torture/partial suffocation; and the use of stress positions and sustained sleep deprivation.

Amnesty International has also accused governments of betraying their commitments to end torture, especially considering the Convention Against Torture was adopted by the UN in 1984.

The human rights organisation note that of the 155 states that have ratified the convention, 79 of those are still involved in torturing detainees.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general, has called many countries "two-faced on torture – prohibiting it in law, but facilitating it in practice".

He adds: "Torture is not just alive and well – it is flourishing in many parts of the world. As more governments seek to justify torture in the name of national security, the steady progress made in this field over the last thirty years is being eroded."

You can watch Amnesty's video against torture here:

View this video on YouTube

Amnesty International / Via