Home > Cinema + TV, Government, Middle East, The Politics of War > American court orders BBC to hand over Yasser Arafat documentary footage.

American court orders BBC to hand over Yasser Arafat documentary footage.

By Cahal Milmo   24th September 2012.

Find Full Article Here:-

Ruling raises questions about the ability of the American justice system to seize material held by media outside the United States.

The BBC has been ordered by an American court to surrender unused footage filmed for a documentary about former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to American victims of suicide bombings in Israel.

In a ruling which raises questions about the ability of the American justice system to seize material held by media organisations outside the United States, a judge in New York said the Corporation was obliged to hand over outtakes from interviews with two Palestinian fighters.

It now has until 1 October to lodge a further appeal or produce the material along with a sworn statement from a BBC employee confirming its authenticity. The Corporation said yesterday it was still considering the ruling.

The material is being sought by lawyers representing victims and relatives of those killed by suicide bombs in attacks around Jerusalem. The group is attempting to bring a civil damages claim against the Palestinian Authority and others for allegedly funding terrorist groups behind the bombings.

The victims believe that the BBC interviews with a leader of Fatah, the political movement founded by Arafat, and an alleged terrorist in the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank city of Jenin, contain statements which will help prove a link between the bombings and the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The BBC resisted the application, arguing that complying with the demand would compromise its editorial independence and damage its ability to gather news.

The judgment will have the effect of forcing a non-American broadcaster to surrender unbroadcast footage from a documentary – Arafat Investigated – made almost a decade ago for a British audience.

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