BBC defends Islam documentary against Whitehall propaganda claims

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A senior BBC editor has rebutted claims that a Whitehall counter-terrorism unit influenced a documentary on al-Qaeda, as reported in the Guardian this week.

Nicola Meyrick, executive editor of radio current affairs, denied that the Analysis programme, broadcast on Radio 4 and the World Service and presented by security correspondent Frank Gardner, was the target of attempts by the Research, Information and Communication Unit to infiltrate mainstream media.

Though The Guardian article on Tuesday did not name Analysis, Meyrick was convinced that the paper’s home affairs editor Alan Travis was referring to the 7 August edition of the programme.

Though she admits that Gardner and producer Innes Bowman did meet three RICU officials after recording their interviews, Meyrick says “the programme was a completely independent and impartial piece of original journalism”.

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