In May, Blink reported outrage over the ‘Edge of the City’ film, which followed a Bradford police investigation into claims Asian men were grooming white girls as young as eleven years old for sex, beating them up and turning them into heroin addicts.
After a lobbying campaign, supported by Blink, Channel 4 dramatically axed the programme on 20 May - the day of transmission - as West Yorkshire police Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn warned it posed "a risk to community safety."
Yet three months later Channel 4 have put the film back on the schedules, and plan to screen it on 26 August. Now Blink is reactivating an email lobbying campaign to force C4 to axe the programme for the second time.
The racist British National Party (BNP) gained four councillors in Bradford after exploiting the documentary. The extremist outfit were allowed a free five-minute national party political broadcast during the June European elections in which they focussed on Bradford and the allegations against Asians in the C4 film.
Now campaigners are warning that the BNP will continue to make political gain if the broadcast goes ahead, and that the risk for race riots is even higher now than it was before the elections.
Blink are urging readers to lobby C4 chief executive Andy Duncan, government culture secretary Tessa Jowell and Cramphorn to call for the programme to be pulled. Readers are asked to click on the box (right) to send email messages directly to them. A model text is provided but you can personalise your communication.
Community leaders believe the film associates in the public’s mind a particular crime with one community or faith, and risks creating damaging stereotypes, as well as stirring up racial hatred and potentially violent race attacks.
Lee Jasper, race advisor to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, said: "If Channel 4 are intent on broadcasting this, innocent people will be scapegoated, and if it causes violence then responsibility will lie with Channel 4. With the BNP position the BNP are in, in Bradford, this can only further inflame what is a very tense situation."
Inayat Banglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "Channel 4 should seriously reconsider their decision to broadcast, especially after the West Yorkshire Police raised questions over the accuracy and credibility of the report.
"It focuses almost exclusively on Asians and does not look at people in the white community praying on young children. The documentary gives a misleading impression of Bradford. The BNP have been making inroads into Bradford, and I would hate to see Channel 4 contributing to that situation."
The National Assembly Against Racism, the Churches Commission for Racial Justice, The 1990 Trust, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Jewish Council for Race Equality and public sector trades unions Unison and NATFE have all thrown their weight behind a lobbying campaign.
In a joint letter to C4’s newly appointed chief executive Andy Duncan, they said: "We understand and welcome programmes that deal with difficult issues in order to challenge stereotypical views of any group of people. We believe, however, that Edge of the City fails to do achieve this aim.
"In fact because it suggests that white girls are exclusively abused by older Asian men, it creates a stereotype which is extremely damaging. Particularly with the presence of four BNP councillors on Bradford City Council, the impact on the city's Asian community of this rescheduled screening is likely to be very severe."
Blink was today unable to get a response from C4 to the latest developments. C4 also refused to provide images to Blink from the programme for use in this article. A C4 employee said: "It’s more about Channel 4 having bad publicity. I cannot risk that unless I have the go-ahead."
In a statement today West Yorkshire Police hit out at the programme, branding it as being misrepresentative of the issue. The statement said: "It is important to note that some of this programme was filmed nearly two years ago and things have moved on since.
"We have found no evidence of systematic exploitation. Some of the girls admitted having relationships with older men but they described them as their boyfriends and did not feel they were being exploited."
As part of their investigation, police have interviewed several girls aged between 13 and 16. Nine men and one woman have been charged with offences ranging from rape to indecent assault, witness intimidation, abduction and threats to kill.
Although West Yorkshire Police expressed doubts over C4’s programme, a spokesman said that in contrast to his position three months ago, Chief Constable Cramphorn would no longer be raising objections.
The spokeswoman said: "The concerns we had before about the programme were in relation to the forthcoming European and local elections. Obviously those have passed now. We always believed the programme should be broadcast, but not at that particular point.
"We are happy for the programme to be broadcast. But we wouldn’t speculate on whether it’s going to provoke any kind of disorder."