Story: Jack Foley
ON THE eve of the season premiere of the fourth series of real-time
thriller 24 on Sky on Sunday, January 30, a Muslim group in Britain
has criticised the show for its unfair depiction of Islam.
The Muslim Council of Britain has lodged an official complaint
with broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, insisting that the American
series breaches editorial guidelines.
The complaint emerged after a recent meeting between the group's
members and Sky executives and centres around the first five episodes
of the new series.
The plot this time centres around a Muslim family who are acting
as a sleeper terrorist cell, but according to council members
(who were shown a preview) is 'unremittingly hostile and unbalanced'
in its depiction of Muslims.
A spokesman for the council added
that there was not 'a single positive Muslim character in the
storyline to date'.
The council is concerned that the show's subject matter is insensitive
at a time when 'negative stereotypes of Muslims are on the increase'.
And it argues that Sky should be challenging such 'insidious
views', rather than 'helping to reinforce them'.
Sky, however, has defended its position, stating that it does
not believe the episodes breach Ofcom's programme codes.
However, Fox TV, which shows the series in the US (where it is
enjoying its highest ratings), has subsequently begun to broadcast
public service announcements showing Muslims in a positive light
following similar complaints about the fourth series in America.
The fourth season of 24 begins on Sky One on Sunday, January
30, 2005, at 9pm with a two-hour special.
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