London, UK, July 3 – The serious implications of the sensational media reporting of the high profile arrests of two innocent men in East London has caused Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain and a concerned group of notable individuals and representatives of organisations in contact with communities across London to write letters to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Ofcom and the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
The letters point out that these two men should have been viewed as innocent from the day of their arrest until such point as a just conviction were secured. Sadly, the collective media coverage of this event did not reflect this principle. The Forest Gate arrests were largely reported from the perspective of the police with reports of "chemical vests" and bomb factories ? none of which were true.
Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain said, "People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, however, the sensational reporting of the Forest Gate raids amounted to a trial by media. Not only does this type of reporting smear the accused in a way that prejudices a fair trial, it also damages community relations."
"Is it the role of the media to merely be a spokesperson for the police or should they not critically analyse the material given to them? There needs to be a change in the media culture so that these mistakes are not repeated in future."
"The letters to the PCC and Ofcom ask for an urgent meeting to discuss the community's concerns. The letter to the CPS asks it to consider how safe future prosecutions are likely to be if this manner of reporting and police behaviour is not modified. The letter to the IPCC demands that the source of leaks of misinformation from the Police and Intelligence Services be investigated and held to account. To do anything short of a full investigation in a transparent manner into this matter would be tacit approval to this kind of behaviour and the damage it causes. That would be a shameful indictment of the whole IPCC and the police force, which would not be lost on communities the length of this land."
Notes to Editors
Full text of the letters to the IPCC, CPS, Ofcom and PCC
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