The BBC has offered a brief statement:
“A court order has been made that has prevented the BBC from broadcasting the programme The Riots: In their own Words tonight. We will put it out at a later date.”
The Guardian’s Paul Lewis reports that:
“The BBC has pulled a film about the experiences of rioters during last summer’s disturbances just hours before it was due to be broadcast after a ruling from a judge. The film, due to be broadcast on BBC2 at 9pm on Monday, was a dramatisation based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder.”
In fact, as far as I can tell, only The Guardian is reporting this. Okay, I’ve linked this to the Olympic events that will be happening in London in the near future. This maybe entirely at odds with the facts – which are scant – regarding the ban, and the fact that the Beeb will be broadcasting later.
It maybe the case that the program – some 11 months after the event – includes interviews with accused rioters who have yet to be processed. It maybe that the entire show maybe one huge libel. I don’t know. What I do know is that right now the intense propagandising surrounding the games has created a poisonous atmosphere that would make the situation what sees a judge banning a BBC (remember, the Beeb is the broadcaster of choice for the games) broadcast.
Along with asking, “Why was it pulled?”, we should also ask, “Who asked for it to be pulled?”
This is made all the more strange and “tinfoil helmet” worthy when you realise that The Guardian’s Reading the Riots pages has transcripts of all the interviews that were going to be included in the broadcast ready for you to read.
So much for my tinfoil hat. The Guardian is reporting that:
Mr Justice Flaux, who was presiding over the murder trial of eight men who were acquitted at Birmingham crown court on Thursday, made the injunction on the grounds that the film raised issues which “echoed” arguments put before his jury.
The judge’s reasoning behind the ban appeared to suggest that any general reporting of the unrest in England, including references to the mood of rioters, their experiences or their use of social network technologies, was likely to be seen as potentially prejudicial to the trial.
So, nowt to do with LOCOG or the hideously poisonous atmosphere being created by it and its partners. Nevertheless, the fact that a program from the national broadcaster can be injuncted in this manner and doesn’t make front page news, that is a bad thing.