Prash Naik

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Prash Naik identified with Channel 4’s reputation  as a risk-taking and non-conformist broadcaster when he joined the network two decades before being promoted as its first ever General Counsel in 2014. Prash overseas the Legal & Compliance, Governance, Regulatory and Trading teams as well as advising on all major litigation at Channel 4. He has for over 20 years played a key role in the broadcast and defence of many ground-breaking Channel 4 programmes before the courts and regulators.

He is on record as saying: “There is a kind of purity here in the belief of what Channel 4 stands for and that’s innovation and experimentation in the form and content of programmes. Channel 4 being the bad boy of broadcasting is appealing to the lawyers that join. They all believe in freedom of expression and you have to believe that because otherwise there’s no point coming here.”

Prash was recruited to Channel 4’s legal team in 1994, having previously been a solicitor for three years in private practice at the now defunct firm DJ Freeman. He was later promoted to Senior Lawyer, Deputy Head and then Controller of Legal & Compliance in 2008.  In 2013 the Legal & Compliance team won the prestigious in-house TMT (Technology, Media, and Telecommunications) Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards under his leadership. The team advises on all content-related legal, regulatory and ethical issues in the making, broadcast and defence of all Channel 4 content. The team also provides extensive training to independent producers and in-house editorial staff; lobbying work on legislation and regulation that impacts on programme making activities; and legal advice on the implementation of Channel 4’s 360 Diversity Charter.

Prash has advised on many controversial and award winning programmes, including securing the broadcast of Brass Eye, Ali G, Death of a President, Chosen and Four Lions. Brass Eye, a parody of current affairs-style news programming of the mid-1990s, included the paedophile special in 2001 which satirised the then media hysteria and misinformation about the issue. The episode received around 3,000 complaints and evoked moral panic, leading to a campaign against its creator and presenter Chris Morris.

When journalist Sean Langan was kidnapped by the Taliban on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2008, Prash was part of the team instrumental in his release. The documentary film-maker had been working on Channel 4’s flagship current affairs series Dispatches and was kept hostage for over 12 weeks. Prash regularly advises on high profile Dispatches investigations and these have included Inside Britain’s Israel LobbyLessons in Hate and ViolenceBritain’s Hidden Child Abuse and How to Buy a Meeting with a Minister.

Prash’s team have also got to air a number of ground breaking programmes which have defined Channel 4 including  The Autopsy – The first live televised autopsy; Plane Crash, which crashed a Boeing 727 in the Mexican desert to study the mechanics of a plane crash in real time; Drugs Live, which tested 25 volunteer after they took the class A drug MDMA ; The Murder Trial, which gained unique access to film a six week Scottish murder trial; and Live From Space a live two-hour broadcast from the International Space Station  as it completed a 90-minute orbit around Earth.

Prash also served on the board of the international development NGO ActionAid UK for six years (2007-2013).

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