Wednesday 13 December 2017

Channel 4 News breached broadcasting rules over Westminster terror report

Attempts to mitigate the error were insufficient, Ofcom found.

General views of Channel 4 office – London
General views of Channel 4 office – London

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Channel 4 News committed a “serious breach” of broadcasting rules, after it wrongly identified the Westminster terror attacker, Ofcom has said.

The broadcast incorrectly referred to the same person throughout its report and subsequent steps to mitigate the error were insufficient, the watchdog found.

A spokesman for the regulator added: “This is the fourth time in three years we have found Channel 4 in breach of its requirement to report news with due accuracy.

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General views of Channel 4 office – London

“We are particularly concerned that another serious breach has happened, given Channel 4’s previous assurances to Ofcom that improvements to its compliance processes were being made.

“Considering the seriousness of this breach, we are requiring Channel 4 News to air a summary of our breach decision.”

The news programme incorrectly identified Abu Izzadeen as the person responsible for the terror attack at Westminster who had been shot dead by police. Izzadeen was in prison at the time.

Six complaints were made about the error.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: “We acknowledge Ofcom’s ruling. Channel 4 and ITN take this matter very seriously and we are working with Channel 4 News to review and improve their existing editorial and oversight procedures.

“This was a fast-moving story, broadcast in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack. Channel 4 News moved swiftly to correct and clarify the facts as conflicting information came to light.

“We note that Ofcom acknowledges Channel 4 News made appropriate corrections while on air; removed the programme from other platforms and carried a full correction and apology the following day.”

Press Association

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