Channel 4 wins damages from West Midlands Police

The Crown Prosecution Service and West Midlands Police are due to publicly apologise and pay £100,000 damages for accusing a Channel 4 documentary exposing extremism in Britain’s mosques of misleading editing, the broadcaster has said.

The apology will be made at the High Court following the broadcaster’s decision to launch libel proceedings against police and the CPS.

A press release issued by the two agencies last year claimed that the Dispatches programme misrepresented the views of Muslim preachers and clerics with misleading editing.

Police reported Channel 4 to TV watchdog Ofcom for “heavily editing” the words of Islamic imams to give them more sinister meaning in Dispatches: Undercover Mosque.

After investigating, Ofcom rejected the complaints in a decision published last year.

Police had suggested they had considered taking action against Channel 4 before being told the prospect of conviction was unlikely.

The force spent around £14,000 on the investigation, which was initially looking at whether three of the individuals shown in the programme could be prosecuted for inciting terrorism or racial hatred.

But they then announced offences may have been committed by Channel 4, specifically in stirring up racial hatred.

Kevin Sutcliffe, deputy head of current affairs at Channel 4, said of today’s announcement: “This is a total vindication of the programme team in exposing extreme views being preached in mainstream British mosques.”

After a police spokeswoman confirmed the apology and an agreement to pay a sum to a charity of programme makers choice Channel 4 said £50,000 would be donated to the Rory Peck Trust for freelance news gatherers and their families in times of need.

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