UK Liberty

Police libel Channel 4, public pays

Posted in accountability, freedom of speech, law and order, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on May 15, 2008

The BBC:

West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have apologised for accusing the makers of a Channel 4 documentary of distortion.

The apology and the promise of £100,000 were made at the High Court on Thursday.

It follows comments made about a Dispatches programme, Undercover Mosque, which tackled claims of Islamic extremism in the West Midlands.

The police statement said the force was wrong to make the allegations.

A press release issued by the police and the CPS in August 2007 claimed the Dispatches programme, broadcast in January of that year, misrepresented the views of Muslim preachers and clerics with misleading editing.

One preacher was shown saying a homosexual should be thrown off a mountain, another that women were born deficient.

Police also reported Channel 4 to television watchdog Ofcom for “heavily editing” the words of Islamic imams.

But in November, Ofcom rejected the police and CPS claims, and Channel 4 said it was going to sue the CPS and police for libel.  …

The Times:

David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Police scrutiny of editorial decisions of a television producer is not only an inappropriate law enforcement function, it also risks deterring legitimate investigative journalism.”

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrats’ media spokesman, said: “What the police thought they were doing in the first place is beyond me.”


The Telegraph:

Police and prosecutors have paid out a six-figure sum for wrongly claiming a television exposé of Islamist extremists was faked.

Er no, let’s be clear – the individuals haven’t paid a dime.  Ultimately this money has come from the public purse.  I wonder if anyone will be held accountable.