Jonathan's Moral Maze

Jonathan Moore, senior lecturer in journalism at London Metropolitan University, contributed to a recent edition of the long running BBC Radio 4 programme, the Moral Maze.
Date: 10/11/14
Jonathan Moore, senior lecturer in Journalism at London Metropolitan University, contributed to a recent edition of the long running BBC Radio 4 programme, the Moral Maze.
 
Each week on the programme the panel invites four witnesses to debate an issue of contemporary importance. Last week, the question was on whether governments should ever talk to terrorists and Moore, who has written and broadcast on peace and conflict in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, was one of the witnesses interviewed by the panel.
 
Moore argued that there are circumstances where it is right for governments to talk to groups who are carrying out a campaign of violence. He cited the examples of the South African government talking to the ANC and the British government talking to the IRA. The criterion that governments must use is whether the group is serious in wanting a resolution to the conflict and whether talking to the group will save lives. If a government argues that it will never talk to the men and women of violence, opportunities for peace can be lost and the conflict will continue with a further loss of lives and that surely is not an ethical decision.
 
Michael Burke, chair of the panel, commended Jonathan Moore for his contribution and congratulated him for managing to find the right balance between approaching this question from both an an ethical and pragmatic perspective.