Coverage on McAlpine breached code
Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 4:52PM BST.
Communications watchdog Ofcom has found the BBC and ITV breached the broadcasting code in their coverage of “wholly untrue” child abuse allegations against Lord McAlpine.
It found the f ormer Conservative Party treasurer was “treated unjustly or unfairly” on This Morning when presenter Phillip Schofield confronted the Prime Minister with a list of names he said had been linked to child abuse allegations.
The list, which was briefly made visible to viewers, included Lord McAlpine’s name and Ofcom said “t he programme as broadcast therefore resulted in significant unfairness to Lord McAlpine”.
The watchdog also ruled a Newsnight investigation into abuse at a Welsh children’s home which led to Lord McAlpine being widely named online amounted to ” unjust or unfair treatment”.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “Ofcom has today found both the BBC and ITV in breach of the Broadcasting Code for programmes broadcast in November 2012.
“In-depth investigations were conducted into the fairness issues raised by the broadcast of a BBC Newsnight report on child sex abuse allegations and by the broadcast of a list of names of individuals alleged to be linked to child sex abuse on ITV’s This Morning. Both programmes included significant allegations about Lord McAlpine, which turned out to be wholly untrue.
“Ofcom has concluded that both programmes failed to conduct adequate research and neglected to offer Lord McAlpine the opportunity to respond. Both programmes therefore resulted in significant unfairness to Lord McAlpine.
“Separately, Ofcom has also ruled that ITV failed in its obligation to ensure that generally accepted standards were applied and did not provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion of harmful material.”