LETTER : 'Capital' offence

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was surprised to see the opinion piece by Simon Edge (Media, 8 August) appear, in breach of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) requirement to keep its ruling confidential until the agreed publication date. Contrary to the impression his article gives, the BCC did not find that Channel 4 had secured an interview with Mr Edge "under false pretences" or that he was "set ... up" by the production company. When Mr Edge was interviewed for a four-minute topical report for Out last summer, he was informed that the item was about the alleged rise in black homophobia. Although the main thrust of the short piece remained the same, the focus widened to include concerns of members of the black gay community; in particular, the reporting of black homophobia, although not solely in the gay press.

Mr Edge claims that he was not informed of the "true subject" of the programme. In fact, the shift in focus was explained to him before he gave the interview. The short notice given to him of this is what gave rise to the commission's conclusion of "some unfairness " to Capital Gay.

Channel 4 never intended to allege that Mr Edge was a racist in the now sadly defunct Capital Gay. It was merely reporting the concerns of members of the black gay community. Moreover, the Out report opened with a spirited defence from Mr Edge in which he declared he was "rather bored of being called a racist".

Yours faithfully,

John Willis

Director of Programmes

Channel 4

London SW19