‘Extremist’ libel case against BBC dismissed by judge
Mr Begg, the Chief Imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre, sought damages against the BBC for libel in respect of a broadcast of Sunday Politics presented by Andrew Neil on BBC One, 3 November 2013. He denied being an extremist speaker who had recently promoted and encouraged religious violence by telling Muslims that it would constitute a man’s greatest deeds.
Today in a written judgment The Honourable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave dismissed the claim stating that Shakeel Begg was “something of a Jekyll and Hyde character” whose “speeches and postings, represent an overwhelming case of justification for the BBC“, and that he “clearly promotes and encourages violence in support of Islam and espouses a series of extremist Islamic positions”.
A BBC Spokesperson said: "We were right to stand by the journalism of Sunday Politics. The judge has concluded, based on the evidence, that Imam Begg has preached religious violence and an extremist worldview in his remarks.”
The trial took place between 27 June and 1 July 2016. The BBC defended the case on the basis that the broadcast was substantially true relying upon evidence from six speeches given by Begg to a variety of Muslim audiences between 2006 and 2011.
The full written judgement and press summary can be found here: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/shakeel-begg-v-british-broadcasting-corporation/