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BBC won't unmask The Sun's 'Fake Sheikh' just yet, but they promise they will

Controversial journalist Mazher Mahmood uses a sheikh costume to lure celebrities.

Mahmood was suspended following the trial of Tulisa Contostavlos.
Mahmood was suspended following the trial of Tulisa Contostavlos.
Image: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

THE BBC HAS delayed the broadcast of a Panorama ‘exposé’ of the Sun on Sunday’s ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood after a last minute legal intervention.

The controversial journalist previously worked for the News of the World and became well known for sting operations whilst disguised as a sheikh. The operations attempted to catch often high profile people engaged in wrongdoing.

BBC’s Panorama show has made a report about Mahmood called “Fake Sheikh: Exposed” that was intended to be broadcast last night after the BBC won two separate court appeals.

But the broadcaster said last night that it is to delay the report after Mahmood’s lawyers submitted “new information relating the one of the cases in the programme”.

BBC says that “as a responsible broadcaster, the BBC needs to evaluate” the information.

When this is completed, Panorama says that they will broadcast the programme which includes recent footage of Mahmood.

The journalist has been attempting to block the broadcast of the show and particularly recent images of himself.

Mahmood was suspended from his position following the collapse of the trial of former X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos who was targeted by the ‘Fake Sheikh’.

During the trial of Contostavlos for allegedly attempting to procure cocaine for Mahmood, the judge said that the case “cannot go any further” because there were “strong grounds to believe” Mahmood had “lied” at a hearing before the trial started.

Following the collapse of her trial, Contostavlos called on police to investigate the “horrific and disgusting entrapment” by the reporter.

Mahmood has defended his methods saying that they have led to numerous criminal prosecutions. These include a story on cricket-spot fixing in 2011 led that to the convictions of three Pakistan players for their involvement in a betting scam.

Additional reporting by © – AFP 2014

Read: Rebekah Brooks says she has been ‘vindicated’ >

Read: News of the World hacked Kate Middleton’s phone 155 times, trial is told >

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Rónán Duffy

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