ITC rejects Pilger documentary complaints

By Martin McNamara

John Pilger is working on a new documentary for Carlton TV, despite his public feud with the company’s chairman.

Michael Green was a leading critic of Pilger’s documentary, Palestine Is Still The Issue, made for ITV through Carlton and broadcast last September. The film attracted enormous criticism for an alleged anti-Israeli bias, with Green calling it “a tragedy for Israel as far as accuracy is concerned”.

There were 116 complaints to the ITC about the programme. However, the commission this week has not upheld any of them.

In its adjudication, the ITC said: “Carlton provided persuasive evidence of the care and thoroughness with which it was researched”, adding, “adequate opportunity was given to the expression of a pro-Israeli perspective”.

Welciming the decision, Pilger said: “Following Michael Green’s remarks and an orchestrated campaign by the pro-Israeli lobby, I and my Carlton colleagues received a stream of threats, including death threats. Michael Green should immediately withdraw his slur against the integrity of work done for his company.”

In its adjudication, the ITC said the number of complaints it received, as well as the 533 people who contacted the programme, was “suggestive of orchestrated campaigning”.

A spokesman for Carlton said: “We’re delighted that the ITC has recognised the quality of our film-making process and particularly its praise for the editorial and journalistic integrity of our production.”

However, he said that Green had no comment to make.

Meanwhile, Pilger revealed he was working on a major new documentary to be made by Carlton for ITV and that Carlton was producing a series of radio interviews with him.

“My relationship with Carlton has nothing to do with Michael Green, whom I have never met,” said Pilger. “He had nothing to do with the production of the Palestine film. I have been making films for ITV for more than 30 years and my current working relations with Carlton and the ITV Network Centre, which commissions work, are excellent.”

Pilger added: “Carlton’s director of factual programmes, Richard Clemmow, sent me his congratulations for, as he put it, ‘a fantastic job’ in defending our programme against a wholly unwarranted attack.”

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