UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Al Hiwar TV Channel Reported to Ofcom and the Police

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has reported Al Hiwar TV station to Ofcom (the UK broadcasting regulator) for breaching its code by referring to the terrorist who murdered Eliyahu Kay as a “martyr”. UKLFI has also reported the Al Hiwar channel to the UK police, for breaching UK anti-terrorism legislation.

The day after the attack, which took place on 21 November 2021, a discussion about it took place on the Al Hiwar channel. The programme’s strapline included “A Palestinian’s martyrdom” and the presenter referred to the murderer as a “martyr”.  Al Hiwar is an Arabic Language satellite TV channel based in London.

Eli Kay’s killer was a member of Hamas, which called the incident “a heroic operation” and said that action was legitimate by “all means and tools”.  At the date of the broadcast, the Hamas Armed Wing (Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades) was proscribed in the UK. The proscription has since been extended to the whole of Hamas. Hamas is also designated as a terrorist organisation in many countries around the world.

Al Hiwar’s presenter, Jamal Ahmad said: “Israeli media outlets revealed grave concerns among the occupation’s [security] services that the situation inside Jerusalem will erupt, after yesterday’s shooting operation near Chain Gate in the Old City, causing the death of its Palestinian perpetrator and an Israeli settler’s death. The perpetrator is martyr Fadi Abu Shkhedem, whom the occupation forces killed.”

UKLFI has reported Al Hiwar for breaching section 3.1 of the Ofcom Code, which prohibits broadcasting of material “likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder”.

UKLFI has also reported Al Hiwar to the Police counter-terrorism unit, pointing out that the television station appears to have breached section 1(3) of the Terrorism Act 2006, because calling a terrorist a “martyr” could be seen as indirectly encouraging terrorism.

Section 1(3) of the 2006 Act provides that a statement that is likely to be understood as indirectly encouraging the terrorism includes a statement which

(a) glorifies the commission or preparation of terrorist acts; and

(b) is a statement from which members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that they should emulate the conduct that is being glorified.

Daniel Berke , has submitted a separate report to the Police asking them to investigate whether Al Hiwar committed  an offence under section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which prohibits inviting support for a proscribed organisation.

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “It is shocking that a UK television broadcaster is glorifying a terrorist, and we hope that Ofcom and the police will take appropriate action to prevent this happening in future.”

We thank Camera Arabic for highlighting and translating the Al Hiwar programmes.