Still Blacklisted for Broadcast? 123

What on earth are they so afraid I am going to say?

Today Channel 4 News contacted me to ask me on to discuss wikileaks. I was not over keen to venture out in the snow, so a very nice lady called Leona said they would send a car to Ramsgate as they were “extremely anxious” to have my views as an ex senior diplomat who supported wikileaks.

She has just called back to say they have cancelled as “the running order has changed”. In fact I had made no preparations to go as I knew it would happen. This was approximately the fortieth consecutive time I have been booked by mainstream media then cancelled. In every case they approached me – I do not approach them – and then pull out usually close to the last moment.

I last blogged about this three years ago, when I posted this:


The last five times I have been invited on to television current affairs programmes, all within the last four weeks, my appearance has then been cancelled shortly before filming (except in the case of my comments on Newsnight’s piece on the Uzbek cotton industry, where I was called in and filmed, and then edited out).

This has not only been happening on the BBC. For example I received this:

Dear Mr Murray, ITV Sunday Edition – interview request I hope you don’t mind me approaching you out of the blue. I am writing to invite you onto our show, The Sunday Edition on ITV, this Sunday 18 November.

To give you some more background on the show, The Sunday Edition is ITV’s weekly news and review show, presented by journalists Andrew Rawnsley and Andrea Catherwood. We would like to ask you on to talk about aspects of international affairs: picking up from Gordon Brown’s Guildhall speech, what can and should we expect from his foreign policy?; the situation in Pakistan, Iran; and also the current domestic counter-terrorism measures. We would be happy to discuss other areas you wished to cover.

In terms of logistics, the programme is recorded live at 9.25am this Sunday, 4 November, at the ITN studios in Gray’s Inn Road, central London. We would of course of provide transport to and from the studio.

I do hope this is of interest. If you need any more information about the programme, or this request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

James Reid

Followed by this:

Dear Craig, Many thanks for agreeing to come on the show this Sunday. Just to confirm the details, we will need to get you there for 8.45, to come on the programme at 9.25. Bekeh, our production co-ordinator will confirm the travel details with you when this is booked.

In the meantime, if you need any more information, please do not hesitate to let me know.

All the best


Then suddenly this:

Dear Craig, I hope all is well. I have been unable to get you on the phone this afternoon to let you know we had a change of plan for Sunday regarding the set-up for the programme, and are not going ahead with our planned interview. I wanted to say thank you very much for having agreed to come on, and for taking the time to talk to me on the phone. I apologies for this very late notice, and I hope this does not put you out.

Once again, may thanks for your time on this.

Best regards


Here is another example:

Dear Craig, I’m contacting you from the BBC’s Question Time programme where we are currently about to start a new season of programmes. I’m sure you are familiar with the format but just in case, each week five panellists take part in the programme – usually three politicians and two non-politicians. These other two panellists might be authors, artists, entrepreneurs, actors, pop stars or journalists. The idea is that they are non-political figures with an interest in current affairs – recent participants have included soul singer Beverley Knight, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox. We were wondering whether you would be interested and available at some point in the run to take part as a member of our panel? We have a number of dates coming up and it would be good to see if you are around. For example, we are in Leeds on the 18th October, Oxford on the 25th, Swansea on 1st November, London on the 8th November and Buxton on the 15th November. I hope this might be something that is of interest to you. Please let me know if I can give you any more information. Regards, Tom Gillett

Followed by:

Hi Craig,

Just getting in touch as I’m aware that we’d pencilled you in for this week’s programme.

I’m sorry to have to do this but I don’t think that we’re going to be able to go ahead with the booking this week. It just feels that this week is going to be all about Westminster politics and very little foreign policy which I think would be a waste of your experience. It would be better to book you in on a week where international matters are more prevalent so could you let me know your availability over the next few weeks and hopefully we can slot you in somewhere else.

Again, sorry not to be able to go ahead this week but hopefully we can re-arrange for a convenient date.

Very best,


No reply has been forthcoming to my emails on potential other dates.

Now obviously, it is not unheard of for current affairs programmes to invite people and then to cancel them. But it is very unusual – contrary to popular myth, television people are not notably more rude than normal. It is indeed so unusual that for it to happen five times in quick succession reaches the point where an underlying cause is definitely more likely than chance. It is worth noting that on all five occasions I did not approach the show; the show approached me. My contribution was discussed and a date agreed.

For Newsnight, I commented that the British government was not telling the truth in denying that they knew of the use of forced child labour in the Uzbek cotton industry, as I had reported it officially four years ago and written a book on the subject which they heavily vetted. On Sunday Edition this Sunday I was intending to query the veracity of the government’s claim that there are 2,000 Islamic terrorists in the UK, and consequently the need for yet more draconian anti-liberty legislation to “protect” us. I was also intending to point out the contradiction between Brown’s professed support for “Internationalism”, and his slavish devotion to an aggressively unilateral US foreign policy.

These are neither unusual nor extreme views, but you almost never hear them on television, and you won’t now be hearing them from me. I wonder why?

Posted by craig on November 17, 2007 5:59 AM in the category Other

End quote

It has happened, again and again, ever since – though with decreasing frequency, as I suppose it has become generally known I am not to be filmed. I don’t normally post about it, because obviously it makes it easy to portray you as paranoid. You will recall that even when I gave shocking formal evidence before the parliamentary human rights committee on UK complicity in torture, or when David Tennant played me in a BBC radio play of my life by David Hare, or when I presented the Sam Adams award to Julian Assange, I was not given a single UK broadcast interview about any of these pretty startling events. I have given literally hundreds of foreign TV interviews throughout this period.

I am convinced that there must be a formal mechanism behind this blacklisting. It is too complete, and kicks in so effectively every time I actually am invited. To edit me out of a lengthy feature on slavery in the Uzbek cotton industry, as Newsnight did, for example, is inexplicable otherwise.

This started in 2007. In 2005 and 2006 I made about 50 TV appearances on UK national television in each year. In the first half of 2007 I made over thirty. Since then, not one, but numerous invitations cancelled at the last minute. Now give me a credible alternative explanation to blacklisting.

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123 thoughts on “Still Blacklisted for Broadcast?

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  • TonyF

    Since the David Kelly R4 Iraq WMD mess the BBC exists now uniquely to serve the Government. If it does not behave itself, they will lose their licence fee money and the many, many fatcats will be out of a job. In return it misinforms the population with propaganda, and it provides soaps, cooking shows and Butlins style entertainment to keep us all quiet.

    The BBC’s problem is that many thinking people (and many non-thinking people) get their news elsewhere because the BBC is not so good at its job now the motivation of its political journalists to tell the truth has been excised. The budget left for entertainment once the fatcats have taken their salaries is a bit thin too.

  • dreoilin

    “Now give me a credible alternative explanation to blacklisting.”

    There isn’t one. But it’s back to your question: What on earth are they so afraid you’re going to say?

  • dreoilin

    “In the first half of 2007 I made over thirty. Since then, not one”

    Was your last appearance about the British sailors captured by the Iranians?

    “A year later, a British investigation report was released which stated that the area in which the incident took place was not covered by any formal agreement between Iran and Iraq”

    So you made a fool of them on that occasion. N’est ce pas.

  • External

    Next time, someone contacts you tell them to “drop dead” on the spot and to stop wasting your time since you know that they will cancel within 24 hours. If they insist then use your diplomatic “may be” meaning a big NO.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Well you did call me out for being a secret agent man, so obviously you have a level head for such things.

  • tony_opmoc


    Well you are a bit of a dodgy character, but maybe this time it is just the snow, or perhaps they have got Gordon Duff instead.

    I had no idea who Duff Gordon was, but his article is rather disturbing. He says the following about himself…I guess its probably true.

    His views also explain the current UK Government feelings on sitting ducks aka Bath Tubs / Aircraft Carriers.

    I assume you do know about the attack on USS Liberty or is that classified?

    Personally I think starting WW III is not a good idea. 9/11 was an attack primarily on the people of America with the collateral damage of a few Million Muslims. The job was done by a process of infiltration and elements within the US Military know full well who is to blame, but they are not allowed to say, for reasons I do not understand.

    Hope you like Ramsgate. Broadstairs is very nice.

    “Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, grunt and 100% disabled vet. He has been a featured commentator on TV and radio including Al Jazeera and his articles have been carried by news services around the world. He has been a UN Diplomat, defense contractor and is a widely published expert on military and defense issues. His banking experience includes trade and monetary policy roles in over 80 countries. Gordon Duff acts as political and economic advisor to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East. Gordon Duff is currently working on economic development projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan to counter the effects of poverty and global extremism.”


  • Tom Welsh

    “I am convinced that there must be a formal mechanism behind this blacklisting”.

    That is a perfectly understandable (and logical) conclusion. But I suspect it may not be quite right, even so. In their excellent book about the (mainly UK) media, “Newspeak in the 21st Century”, David Edwards and David Cromwell point out that formal censorship is unnecessary. All that is needed is for ambitious journalists to be aware – and they have very sensitive antennae – that certain kinds of story will not lead to promotion and riches.

    For ease of reference, here is the book’s Amazon page:

  • Alfred

    “What on earth are they so afraid I am going to say?”

    Well that’s obvious isn’t it.

    You advocate breaking up the country, you insult the family of the Head of State to whom, as a diplomat, you swore loyalty, and you take the wrong line on Assange, holding him to be a hero rather than an enemy of the state (both views absurd of course).

    Your best bet would be to return your CIA medal, which links your firmly with the strange Assange, now clearly deranged as he claims to have released both the Climategate emails and the Tales of Ossian.

  • Vronsky

    Always agree to contribute as invited, and document the subsequent change of schedule without complaint. You can reproduce the documentation here for our amusement. Nobody up there likes you, and that’s a wonderful thing.

    Your position is analagous to that of an hypothetical musician on X-Factor (hypothetical, because there isn’t one). As such you would have to listen to tone-deaf, musically illiterate oafs like Simon Cowell pressing confident opinions on matters of which they know nothing. Except the market for shit, which they know very well, as they make it.

    You’re a musician. Sing sweetly, Craig, and fuck the shitmarket.

    (see how I got that terribly correct ‘an’ in front of the ‘hypothetical’? Honestly, I really piss myself off at times).

    “Personally I think starting WW III is not a good idea.”

    Jeez. You’re out on a limb there, tony.

  • Ruth

    “I am convinced that there must be a formal mechanism behind this blacklisting”.

    Of course there is. MI5/MI6 serve the Establishment/hidden government, whose agenda is way beyond the law. The last thing they want in the public eye is someone who is honest and has the guts to challenge them. Putting you on TV would greatly increase your popularity and influence. Why else is your blog continually disrupted? They fear you. A quick phone call would remove you from the programme.

    I’ve received this kind of experience in researching VAT and excise fraud. A solicitor will discuss all sorts of matters and promise to provide information but then suddenly everything goes dead.

    Most probably your phones are bugged so they know exactly what you’re up to.

  • Vronsky

    Almost on topic, isn’t this fun:

    ‘A study by Dr Kanazawa, published in Social Science Quarterly in March, based on the same data showed that young adults who identified themselves as “very liberal” had an average IQ of 106 while those who identified themselves as “very conservative” had an average IQ of 95.’

    Echoes of my time at uni, when the Conservative Club claimed that the left had an unfair advantage in debates as they were smart and didn’t have to spend so much time studying.

  • Phil

    Looks pretty much like blacklisting. Would be interesting to know how it works. Does this mean that the running order for all TV (and radio) programmes is sent to the security services for approval?

    Have you had a chance to cross-question any of the people who invited you as to who made the decision to withdraw the invitation?

  • writerman


    It’s our version of sending someone to Siberia during the rule of the Czars in imperial Russia. You should be thankful it’s not the Stalinist version!

    I think you really put yourself beyond the pale when you shouted out that ‘Zionism is bullshit!’ in a public forum and on film. You must have been barmy. Well, not really, but…

    Your views, which I think are pretty moderate and middle of the road, I mean who is actually *for* torture and abuses of human rights? Who supports foreign, despotic regimes, that crush the most basic human rights and enslave their own people? Your stand on these issues does you credit.

  • Alfred

    “‘A study by Dr Kanazawa, published in Social Science Quarterly in March, based on the same data showed that young adults who identified themselves as “very liberal” had an average IQ of 106 while those who identified themselves as “very conservative” had an average IQ of 95.'”

    Can we assume that Dr. Kanazawa is a liberal. LOL.

  • writerman

    Is ‘censorship’ in Britain formal, or informal? That all depends on what one is going to say, to whom, and where.

    Formal censorhip does exist. The D-notice system, and the official secrets act, both curtail what information is allowed to enter the public domaine.

    Then it’s well-known that editors meet regularly with the security services, over lunch, to discuss matters of mutual interest.

    But the British establishment has been at this game for so long usually having to formally step in and actually stop something, is regarded as a bit clumsy and overt. Usually all that’s needed is a nod, wink, or a word to the wise.

    You have, or did have, a high public profile, so the subtle process of filtering you out took some time, but the trajectory is clear as a bell. Gradually the news that you were ‘radioactive’ and not ‘sound’ spread around, and now, as far as the mainstream media is concerned, you don’t exist, except as an example of what can happen to a career, and how quickly one can fall from grace.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Alfred – You might want to google the terms “democracy” and “freedom of speech”. In democracies a wide variety of viewpoints, including those opposed to the current government are allowed, including Craig’s views and even completely illogical ones such as your own.

  • tris

    I think perhaps to save them the time you might consider asking them at the first invitation, if they have looked at the government blacklist.

    Point out that whilst this is a free country, it is doubtless a known fact that there will be no knighhoods or Lord thingies handed out to interviewers who use people on this list.

    I’d love to know who else is on it.

    You say it started in 2007. Hmmmm, what else happened that year… Gordon Brown maybe?

  • Clark

    Well this is good news and bad. The good news is that programs want to book Craig. The bad news is that someone appears to be persuading them otherwise. The Chomsky argument advanced by Tom Welsh at 6:00 PM seems less likely in this case, as they wouldn’t book him in the first place.

    Further good news is that the more often it happens, the more people in the media encounter political interference in their work, which hopefully should piss them off, especially if they have to rearrange their schedules. So keep making those bookings, Craig!

    I suspect that it’s not about what Craig may say during any specific program. Rather, it’s to deny him coverage and hence publicity.

    Craig, can you impose booking and/or cancellation fees? We know that political arguments carry little weight compared with reducing expenditure.

  • mike cobley

    In a true democracy, the government is afraid of the people; under authoritarian systems, the people are afraid of the government. And when the editors and programme bookers are afraid of repercussions, you start to wonder who the gatekeepers are.

  • craig Evans

    Dear Craig,

    I’ve just had a flash of genius!

    It’s your surname; these media types are confusing you with another Mr Murray, that odious toad from the “Centre for Social Cohesion” Douglas Murray. He is forever turning up on Question time and any questions usually venting his spleen over the poor and unfortunate and forever denigrating the Scottish nation as per his comments in August on R4’s “Any Questions” along with Baroness Deach.

    Just for interest this quote from Wikipedia: The CSC’s web site indicates that its aims are to foster new attitudes that help bring Britain’s ethnic and religious communities closer together, while strengthening British traditions of openness, tolerance, and democracy. It researches ethnic and religious communities and organisations in the UK and publishes analyses: AYE RIGHT!!!???

    Ho Hum that’s life!

  • Alfred

    @Duncan McFarlane

    “In democracies a wide variety of viewpoints, including those opposed to the current government are allowed…”

    That is the commonly understood feature of a free and democratic society. But you surely do not think, Duncan, that one is free to express contempt of others, let alone the head of state, without experiencing consequences?

    That people hit back and that people with power usually hit back the hardest, is commonplace fact about human nature and has nothing whatever to do with whether Britain is a democracy.

  • wendy

    “To edit me out of a lengthy feature on slavery in the Uzbek cotton industry, as Newsnight did, for example, is inexplicable otherwise.”

    no its not, have you watched newsnights output, its full of neo con nut jobs, soliciting business as think tanks or experts.

    similarly channel four news has not been the same since around 6 months prior to 2005 elections .. it has little integrity these days.

  • wendy

    with regard to wikileaks .. i wouldnt put too much faith into what the media is providing … the media are deliberately misleading people and people dont understand what they are reading.

    the leaks are not facts or evidence , they are merely the perceptions by americans about the rest of the world.

    but then i wouldnt trust what is being spun out in the media .. for instance the headlines have been about iran receiving long range bm25 missiles from nkorea, yet within the cable its found that the russians actually didnt beleive that the bm25s exist since there has never been any evidence of testing of the missile eithr by nkorea nor iran. the logic being who would invest in technology that has not been proven. for russia the missiles are a paper concoction not a physical reality.

    who knows which is correct but the latter was not detailed by the media.

    and can anyone comment as to why the usa would want biometric info .. that is fingerprints,iris scans and curiously – dna samples?

  • writerman

    In a remark that smacks of irritated, imperial arrogance, Hilary Clinton slammed Wikileaks as having launched an attack on the international community.

    The international community is a another way of saying the west, and the west is another way of saying the United States, which has the rest of the west firmly in line.

    Years ago western leaders could say no to the United States and survive. One thinks of Wilson refusing to send British troops to Vietnam, Trudeau in Canada who criticized the war, and Palme in Sweden who fought to maintain Sweden’s neutrality and was openly critical of American foreign policy.

    Today… today seems almost a lifetime away from yesterday. Yesterday, when a handful of western leaders dared to question US leadership and strategy. Now everything is so different, everyone has been beaten or bribed into submission and even open support, no matter how crazed and reckless America’s policies are.

    It’s almost unthinkable that any contemporary western leader would dare criticize the United States, in any but the most respectful terms. My how the world has changed.

    But as the US empire seems intent on imperial over-reach leading to defeat and eventual destruction, maybe western leaders will once again begin to assert their own national interests and independence, crossing their imperial master in Rome.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    You’re right on that Alfred, but in a democracy everyone should be free to criticise the most powerful without their views being censored.

    We’ll never get perfect democracy, but we should be trying to get closer to it all the same.

  • Ruth

    The US publicly slammed the release of Megrahi and yet I have no doubt were complicit with the UK in his release. I feel Clinton’s condemnation of WikiLeaks is contrived. There’s something really odd about the whole thing.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, there is indeed likely to be a mechanism for blacklisting, Craig.

    1) ‘The Christmas Tree Files’: At the BBC, there was a man from MI5 who used to vet all job applications, both internal and external. Successive Director-Generals and of course UK governments, lied about his existence until the early 1990s when it was finally admitted. Even the DG was unable to overturn MI5’s decisions. There was a well-known Scottish journalist who was refused a job; it turned out many years later of course, that the real reason was, a distant relative, an in-law, once had been a communist.

    Playwrights were blacklisted, eg. Roland Joffe, who made ‘The Killing Fields’ and other key films, because he was left-wing.

    Co-written by Richard Norton-Taylor, eh? Even more interesting.

    2) There was (and may well still be) a blacklist in the UK construction industry for the trades – plumbers, electricians, joiners, etc. Any tradesman/woman who asks questions risks getting blacklisted and never being hired again. This was being run, illegally, by most big-name construction companies; think of a name, glance up at a crane – they were doing it.

    3) Craig is absolutely correct. When researchers book you for a radio/TV programme, very occasionally they cancel – it’s usually rolling news programmes because news moves very fast and you’re usually sitting on a stool in the middle of a busy open-paln office filled with busy people and you’re facing a large camera and someone says, “Sorry, we’ve gotta go to Archbishop Desmond Tutu now…” or whatever, and your time-slot is filled. It’s unusual for them to cancel you coming-in, even with such news programmes.

    Usually, they are going through a list of ‘possible names to book for this programme’ and they are always really keen when you say, “Yes, I can do it”. I know mine’s a different field and is on a much lower level, but from my experience, Craig is correct, it is unusual for broadcasters to cancel – they’re usually desperate to get people with possibly differing views on a subject at short notice! I’ve been cancelled only once or twice out of around maybe 30 programmes I’ve done with the BBC or outsourced companies working to make programmes for the BBC. And Craig has far more important, informed and topical things to say about politics/ foreign policy, etc. than I! So, if a broad range of UK (yet not foreign) broadcasting companies cancel someone of Craig’s stature then there must be other reasons. I too cannot think of any other reason than the one Craig has delineated in this post. Believe me, I would like to think of one. But I think we simply have to face it: there is likely to a blacklist.

    4) This is no surprise. When one views the matter historically, one can see the same pattern repeated – absolute denials by senior figures and then, finally, usually when it no longer matters (eg. when the Cold War was over), a quiet acceptance which almost no-one notices.

    Craig is censored in the UK and his website – the one UK place where he is not censored – is overrun with trolls – none of this ought to be surprising. He’s a key whistleblower! The extent of the oppression – and make no mistake, censorship IS oppression – is a corollary of the value and power of what he has to say.

    Or, to put it in more direct fashion:

    Screw the bastards!

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