Petition aims to reinstate Ridley to Islam Channel

A petition has been launched to get Yvonne Ridley back on air at the Islam Channel, after its main current affairs programme, hosted by her, was axed.

The former Daily Express journalist is still working for the channel in a backoffice role.

Ridley, a former Sunday Express journalist, was taken hostage by the Taliban in 2001 and has since converted to Islam, becoming a leading supporter of MP George Galloway's anti-Iraq war Respect party.

One insider at the station said they were told by the broadcaster that it had dropped the programme after coming under pressure from Ofcom.

The Agenda was a 90-minute show broadcast daily in the morning on the satellite channel.

Ofcom confirmed to Press Gazette that it has received two complaints about the channel which it is looking into, but stressed that it has put no pressure on the channel to remove the programme.

No-one at the Islam Channel was available for comment.

John Rees, head of Stop the War Coalition, is leading the petition to bring back Ridley.

The petition has also been signed by investigative journalist John Pilger and NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear.

When asked why he has started the petition, Rees said: "It makes the point that there are very few political spaces on any form of television or broadcasting where the views of the anti-war movement are given a fair crack of the whip, despite the fact they are a majority view as a whole.

"We are asking them to reconsider their decision."

Ridley told Press Gazette: "I am shocked and astounded that the most successful programme on the Islam Channel has been pulled, and in my humble opinion without a logical reason, unless I'm not being told all the facts."

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