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24: Season 4 in trouble with Muslim group



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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