Channel 4 cleared of fakery

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Channel 4 was yesterday cleared of faking the views of Muslim preachers in an undercover documentary examining alleged Islamic extremism in Britain.

The broadcaster accused West Midlands Police, which had reported it to Ofcom after its criminal investigation into the Dispatches programme collapsed earlier this year, of giving "legitimacy" to those preaching a message of hate.

In its findings, the media regulator said there was no evidence that Channel 4 or the documentary makers Hardcash Productions had misled the audience with the documentary broadcast in January. It said: "'Undercover Mosque' was a legitimate investigation, uncovering matters of important public interest."

Excerpts from preachers and teachers included such comments as: "Allah created the woman deficient", and "by the age of 10, it becomes an obligation on us to force her (young girls) to wear hijab and if she doesn't ... we hit her".

Ofcom also rejected the 364 viewers' complaints, which it said appeared to be part of a campaign.

The shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said it was inappropriate for the police to scrutinise editorial decisions and risked deterring investigative journalism. West Midlands Police said it feared the documentary could undermine community cohesion.