Today Tonight blocked from airing segment by court injunction

Seven’s current affairs program Today Tonight was prevented from broadcasting an interview with a man who had his passport cancelled on the grounds the story painted him as an extremist.

The network was served an injunction on the grounds of breach of contract as Sulyman Khalid claimed he had been told he would have “editorial control” of the show and be given the “final say” on the segment before it went to air.

However, when he was not given the opportunity to approve the material he feared he would be portrayed as an extremist recruited to fight in the Syrian civil war.

Khalid, also known as Abu Bakr, was interviewed on the show as he had been one of around 20 Sydney men whose passports had been suddenly cancelled in December as the ASIO suspected they were preparing to engage in politically motivated violence if allowed to travel overseas or had a “jihad mentality”.

In an affidavit his lawyer Zali Burrows claims the shows producer told her “you will have the final say before (the program) airs” and “you will have editorial control”.

Justice Robert Beech-Jones granted the injunction noting that it would not be normal practice for the network to grant the interviewee editorial control.

Both parties will return to court on February 3.

A spokesman for Channel Seven said: “Given the matter is before the courts, Seven does not believe it is appropriate to comment, save to note that Seven/Today Tonight has not yet had an opportunity to answer the plaintiffs’ untested allegations which are denied, in particular, any suggestion that we would cede editorial control.”


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