Meet the reporter who refuses to be Britain's spy

Jamal Osman is a multi-award winning journalist and filmmaker specialising in sub-Saharan Africa. (


Imagine being pulled out of line at the airport, taken to a back room, and asked by federal agents to spy on your own community. Would you refuse?

Somali-British journalist Jamal Osman claims that, over the years, he's experienced the above scenario dozens of times. The award-winning Channel 4 reporter tells guest host Piya Chattopadhyay about both the incentives and threats he's heard from MI5 and MI6, his reasons for repeatedly turning them down, and his bold decision to speak publicly about their secretive propositions. 

"What they're asking me to do, in a nutshell, is to spy on my community, to spy on my fellow Somalis. And I have always said, 'No, I am not going to do that.'"

Please note: Q staff reached out to both MI5 and MI6. Both agencies declined to comment. CSIS was also contacted, but did not respond.

The RCMP did not respond in time for the interview, but later sent us the following statement: 
"The RCMP does not target individuals or groups, but criminal activity wherever it happens."

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