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    Wednesday, 19 September 2007

    Catch-up (August): C4 criticised for providing a platform for extremism

    In early August, Channel 4 faced criticism for the decisions to allow extremist Islamists to air their views in Dispatches programmes broadcast in January and August (1,2,3). The Director of the latter programme defended the decision on the basis that "journalism has a duty to reflect and not condemn the views of [such] people" and that "in denying them a voice, it is contributing to the radicalisation of British Muslims". Complaints were made to the police, and an investigation as to whether any incitement to hatred had occurred (perpetrated by either the interviewees or the programme makers themselves) (1,2). It also emerged, perhaps strangely, that the police and Crown Prosecution Service were to make a complaint to Ofcom (1). Channel 4 was robust in its defence of the programmes and criticism of the police (1). It was supported by the Conservative Party among others (1,2).

    Later in August, Channel 4 was ordered by the court to hand over unbroadcast footage from the second programme to police in aid of an investigation into Abu Mohammed (the radical in question) (1).


    Andrew Scott said...

    On this topic, see the article by Andrew Anthony in the Observer, together with the legion commentary:

    When did the police start collaring television?

    Anonymous said...

    See also this reality check from Stephen Glover:

    Editing material isn't a crime: it's what all journalists have to do

    Andrew Scott said...

    Channel 4 was quick to hit back at what it called the lazy coverage of the story by rival broadcasters, who it took to have assumed that the documentary had been faked without making any check. They were supported in their ire at the CPS by a media lawyer - see:

    C4 calls BBC 'lazy' in Mosque row

    Andrew Scott said...

    The courageous views of then culture minister David Lammy on this 'oxygen of publicity' notion were well-expressed at the Polis lecture 'Diversity in the Media: the twin challenge' in October of last year - see:

    - Lammy: Put extremists on air
    - and the Polis site for a transcript and a podcast of the lecture (see esp. paras 58 et seq)

    Andrew Scott said...

    See also Richard Sambrook on Sacred Facts:

    Oxygen of Publicity?

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