In a recently rebroadcast radio documentary on Danish radio, DR, the Danish Broadcasting corp., accepted a demand from Hizb ut-Tahrir that only Muslims will appear in the show.
The radio program Dokumentartimen on P1, prepared in 2002 a program called "Jihad.dk" about Hizb ut-Tahrir. The documentary was broadcast a couple of times since, most recently this past Saturday. It begins by saying that the radio's documentary group had followed Hizb ut-Tahrir for more than a year and a half in Denmark, England and Pakistan. It was hard to get Hizb ut-Tahrir in Denmark to cooperate. One of the conditions of Hizb ut-Tahrir was that only Muslims will take part in the show, and we have accepted that. Only Muslims appear in the broadcast.
Ole Hyltoft, author and member of DR's board, think it's serious that DR accepted such a demand from a 'fascist organization' like Hizb ut-Tahrir. He says that people might say that journalistically it was necessary, but his general attitude is that people should reject such conditions. It limits freedom of speech and here also the documentary veracity, when just the organization's members or other Muslims take part. With just one group expressing its opinion, people don't get all the facts. DR is supposed to represent reality. There can be situation when people will agree to it, but this can snowball and there's a risk that the editors will accepted such demands again.
Dokumentartimen often rebroadcasts shows and when radio montages such as Jihad.dk becomes actual, the editors broadcast them again. This time it was due to last month's Hizb ut-Tahrir's demonstration against the Danish media reprinting of the Muhammad cartoons, and Villy Søvndal (Socialist People's Party) hard criticism against the organization, explains Dokumentartimen's editor, Thomas Ravn-Pedersen.
Ravn-Pedersen, who was not the editor in 2002, says that 5-6 years later they think this program is a fascinating and insightful broadcast. They could have prepared the documentary using only recordings from abroad, but the orgnaizations' Danish spokesperson, who at the time was accused, and that meanwhile had been sentenced two times for things he had said, made this demand in order to cooperate, and his cooperation strengthened the show. Even if it's a curious demand, it does not hurt the premise that they approached the topic critically.
Jacob Mollerup, DR's listeners and viewers editor, says the journalistic approach was unusual. Principally he says that it sounds unusual that they accepted the demands in such a way. With such rare exceptions the premise should be made clear to the listeners but in DR's programs it's not forbidden to make such agreements.
Anne Louise Schelin, chief legal advisor of the Danish Union of Journalists, says that under general consideration it's serious to agree to such a demand, that is made by sources, and people should be extremely cautious about it. But as it's meaningful for newsworthiness, it can be right to make such a decision. DR had told its listeners about the demand and so they knew what they were listening to. A public service station might also need to defer to its sources. In this case she can't say that DR's decision was illegal or ethically wrong. She had heard the broadcast and says it's "very critical of the organization."
Source: KD (Danish), the show can be heard here.