A reporter attends mosques run by organisations whose public faces are presented as moderate and finds preachers condemning integration into British society, condemning democracy and praising the Taliban for killing British soldiers.
West Midlands Police alleged that it ‘misrepresented’ various Muslim figures. Ofcom trawled through the programme and a wealth of untransmitted material to see if this was true. Remember, this allegation came at the height of the TV fakery furore this summer.
Ofcom did not find that Channel 4 breached any codes. Indeed Ofcom boss Ed Richards (who speaks at Polis this Wednesday at 6.30pm – details from www.lse.ac.uk/polis) could not have been clearer in backing Channel 4’s journalists:
“In keeping with its remit as a public service broadcaster, it is essential that Channel 4 continues to produce challenging programmes about controversial issues which are responsibly handled. In this case the Dispatches team did not shy away from a difficult subject and upheld British broadcasting’s strong tradition of investigative journalism.”
So only one question remains. Why on earth did the West Midlands Police decide to take on the role of TV critic and act as a complainant on behalf of a citizens who felt they had been treated badly by the media?
I think it is a highly dubious precedent to set. I don’t think that attempts at media censorship mixes very well with normal policing.