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Monday, 19 May 2008

A "balanced and impeccably sourced documentary"

A "balanced and impeccably sourced documentary". That's how Nick Cohen in the Observer describes Undercover Mosque, the Channel 4 documentary that led to a row that led to a row that led to an apology from the police.

Its undercover journalists infiltrated radical mosques. They recorded assorted preachers calling for the subjugation of women, the murder of homosexuals and Jews, the replacement of the "man-made" laws of a democracy with the religious edicts of a theocratic state and the eternal damnation of Muslims who did not follow Wahhabi doctrine and infidels who did not accept the true faith.

So secularists, humanists, freethinkers and those non-PC types who can spot the PC in a PC PC from a mile off are not the only ones who think West Midlands Police were stupid for wanting to prosecute Channel 4 for allegedly fiddling with the footage. Cohen contines:

The station took every care to ensure the accuracy of the programme. I speak from experience when I say that being edited by Channel 4's commissioning editors is like having a team of revenue inspectors going through your accounts. Its lawyers swarmed over the script of Undercover Mosque to make sure it complied with the law and Ofcom's regulatory guidelines. Two weeks before transmission, they sent letters to every cleric criticised in the film explaining what Channel 4 had accused them of and offering them a chance to reply.

It's in the "Comment is Free" slot – Guardian Unlimited's blog – so there are a fair few comments there for your reading pleasure.

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