TV crews could create strain on witnesses

LONDON — U.K. broadcasters have been banned from filming the judicial inquiry into the events surrounding the suicide of Iraq weapons expert David Kelly.

Judge James Edward Hutton, who formally opened the inquiry Friday, rejected the application from Sky News and ITN, which supplies news to commercial webs ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

The BBC, which accused the government of “sexing up” a dossier claiming Iraq could launch weapons within 45 minutes based on information from Ministry of Defense scientist Kelly, did not apply to air the inquiry.

Minimizing strain

In a statement Tuesday, Hutton said that having TV cameras inside the inquiry would “create additional strain on the witnesses,” which are expected to include Kelly’s widow, Janice, and his daughters.

Tom Mangold, a former BBC journo and longtime friend of Kelly, will produce a docu on the weapons expert for Channel 4. The one-hour film will explore the background of the battle between the BBC and the government over defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan’s report on Radio 4.

It is unlikely to include interviews with Kelly’s family. Indie producer Twenty Twenty Television will produce the doc, which is skedded to air in the fall.

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