UK Judge Blocks BBC From Revealing ‘Misogynist MI5 Informant’

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A British High Court judge has blocked the BBC from naming an alleged MI5 informant the news outlet claims to be a “dangerous extremist and misogynist.”

The BBC planned to broadcast a report revealing the identity of a man they say used his status as an agent to abuse and coerce a former partner.

Attorney General Suella Braverman then sought an injunction from the court to block the BBC from identifying him.

Braverman argued it would damage national security and potentially endanger his life.

In a ruling on Thursday, Mr. Justice Chamberlain said the evidence he has seen—both in open court and in a closed material procedure used to protect national security—had persuaded him the injunction was necessary.

The judge said: “The information about X’s identity, in the context of the allegation that he is a CHIS [covert human intelligence source] who works or worked for MI5, is—as the BBC accepts—confidential.

“Although X is said to have disclosed it to Beth [his former partner], and she disclosed it to the BBC, it is not known other than to a small group of individuals.

“The attorney has satisfied me that, if it were to become publicly or widely known, there would be a real and immediate risk that X would be killed or seriously injured.”

“Whilst including X’s name and image would make the BBC’s story more engaging and potentially more attractive to a wider audience, this would come at the expense of material damage to the effectiveness of the work of the security and intelligence agencies and, therefore, the national security of the UK,” the judge added.

The BBC “will still be able to convey what it regards as the core elements of its story, including the allegation that X abused his CHIS status and the allegation that MI5 is at fault for using or continuing to use him as a CHIS,” said Chamberlain.

The attorney general had initially tried to block the whole report, and sought an order requiring her approval of the broadcast—a demand which she later dropped.

Lawyers representing Braverman said at a previous hearing that she “neither confirms or denies” the claim that X is an agent, but conducted the case on the “hypothetical assumption” that he is or was.

A spokesperson for the BBC said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times: “It is important to understand why the BBC believes this to be such important journalism.

“We fought the case to try to tell as fully as possible two women’s stories and their experiences with X—his abuse of them and his use of his status as an MI5 intelligence source to coerce and terrify one of them—behaviour we say MI5 should have known about and that should have caused them to stop working with X.”

The BBC said that they believed the report involved matters of the “highest public interest,” which it described as “coercive control of women, male abuse of power, and the failure of state institutions to address these problems.”

The BBC said that neither they nor the public know the full reasons behind the court’s decision.

“This is due to the highly unusual fact that a significant proportion of the evidence in this case was heard in a closed hearing, which even the BBC as a party was not permitted to attend. While we had ‘Special Advocates’ representing our interests in those closed proceedings, we are not able to know anything about the secret hearing.”

“The secret procedures used in cases like this also constrain what the Judge is able to say about his decision in the public judgment. They are a significant departure from the principles of open and natural justice, as the Judge himself states.”

The BBC has yet to publicly rule out appealing against the judgement.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Simon Veazey

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Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.



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