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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Campaign to stop race documentary
Bradford race riots
Police feared the show would spark riots, as seen in Bradford in 2001
An online campaign has been launched to try and stop Channel 4 from airing a documentary that features claims Asian men are grooming white girls for sex.

Edge of the City, set in Bradford, had been shelved in May after police warned it could incite racial violence ahead of local and European elections.

The Black Information Link website asks readers to lobby Channel 4, police and the Culture Secretary to stop the film.

Channel 4 said the film, being shown on 26 August, is "in the public interest".

The documentary, which follows the work of Bradford Social Services over the course of a year, shows social workers raising fears over the grooming of young white girls by older, predominantly Asian, men in Keighley.

Some of this programme was filmed nearly two years ago and things have moved on since
West Yorkshire Police

It is alleged the girls are showered with gifts then given heroin or crack cocaine and some allegedly subjected to rape.

The British National Party (BNP) based an election broadcast in May on the documentary.

On Tuesday, West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Council said that they had spent the past two years investigating the allegations, but found "no evidence of systematic exploitation".

They added: "We are very pleased with the way the film shows the caring, dedicated and committed team of social workers we have in Bradford.

"However, it is important to note that some of this programme was filmed nearly two years ago and things have moved on since."

'No objection'

A Channel 4 spokeswoman told BBC News Online that although they had agreed not to show the film in May, police had not raised any objection to its new broadcast date and had never tried to censor it.

We feel that the issues of racial tension and potential disruption to public order remain
Lester Holloway

"We maintain the film is well researched, it's well made, and very much in the public interest that it be shown," she said.

"Uninformed calls for it to be pulled simply generate more heat than light."

Lester Holloway, editor of the Black Information Link (Blink) website, told BBC News Online that campaigners disagreed with the police view that it is now safe for the public to see the documentary.

"We feel that the issues of racial tension and potential disruption to public order remain," he said.

BNP rosette
Mr Holloway said the election of BNP councillors could increase tensions

"Although the European elections have passed, there's no evidence to suggest the situation in Bradford has got any better - in fact there's evidence it might have got worse."

The election of four British National Party councillors to Bradford, he said, would have further heightened racial tensions in the area.

He said campaigners had no objections to allegations of criminal activity being investigated but added: "There is a danger the whole of the Asian community in Bradford will be demonised by this."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told BBC News Online that debate about the documentary fell outside its remit.

"Basically, Channel 4 has editorial independence and it's not a matter for our Secretary of State."

She added the programme would have been vetted by Channel 4's own lawyers and any complaints arising from its broadcast would be handled by Ofcom.

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