British media watchdog slams cops for objecting to "Undercover Mosque"

Remember “Undercover Mosque”? It made a stir in the blogosphere when it aired on Channel 4 in January and was hailed by Hitchens as revelatory and must-viewing by anyone who doubts the jihadist threat. Think of it as “Obsession” if that film was concerned specifically with British Muslims. Viewers petitioned the cops to watch it and see if any of the agents of peace captured on film inciting religious hatred might in fact be prosecuted for inciting religious hatred. Alas, no, the cops concluded — but how about we prosecute Channel 4 for inciting religious hatred against Muslims by airing the show in the first place? That was the question with which the media watchdog, Ofcom, was tasked. Result: surprising.

Channel 4 has been vindicated by the media watchdog Ofcom after police complained about an investigative programme that exposed extremism in British mosques…

The watchdog added: “Ofcom found no evidence that the broadcaster had misled the audience or that the programme was likely to encourage or incite criminal activity…

Police claimed that the Dispatches programme had misrepresented the views of Muslim preachers and clerics with misleading editing.

Following today’s ruling, the Channel 4 called the police’s actions “perverse” and said they had, in some people’s eyes, given “legitimacy to people preaching a message of hate”.

As I said when we wrote about this in August, I encourage you to watch the UM clips available online and try to fathom what essential missing piece of context the police thought might have “cured” the diseased rhetoric captured in the move. My hunch: They didn’t think any context was missing. They simply asked Ofcom to investigate Channel 4 as a show of evenhandedness, to prove to the perpetually aggrieved that they’re willing to be “fair” to a fault in investigating claims of religious hatred. It’s CYA, and probably a harbinger of how they’ll handle these things going forward.

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