ITV And Newsnight Investigated By Ofcom

Sky News15 November 2012
ITV And Newsnight Investigated By Ofcom

ITV's This Morning and BBC's Newsnight are being investigated for their handling of child sex abuse allegations.

Media watchdog Ofcom is examining the Newsnight programme that led to Tory peer Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in a paedophile ring.

And it is also looking at This Morning after presenter Phillip Schofield confronted David Cameron with a list of alleged paedophiles live on air. ITV has confirmed Schofield will continue to front the show while the probe is carried out.

Ofcom is looking at whether the broadcasters complied with "generally accepted standards" and applied them to "prevent unfair treatment to an individual, and unwarranted infringements of privacy".

The announcement came after ITV said it had taken disciplinary action over the moment Schofield ambushed the Prime Minister last week.

ITV's director of television admitted Phillip Schofield was "wrong" in confronting David Cameron with a list of alleged paedophiles on live TV, adding that the action was "misguided".

Peter Fincham said he would be responding to letters from Lord McAlpine and Tory MP John Whittingdale "very quickly".

"I think the way This Morning interviewed the Prime Minister last Thursday or that portion of the interview was wrong, was misguided.

"I'm not happy that this happened. We have editorial processes and checks in place and, to be honest with you, they weren't followed so I'm not happy about that but I think the way we have tackled this and responded to this has been quick and decisive.

"I've spoken to Phillip Schofield myself. He realises his mistake. He apologised for it extremely fully and extremely quickly and I discussed that with him and I think he's under no illusions that this was a lapse in ITV journalism; this is something we shouldn't have done."

It also followed Lord McAlpine's first interview about the affair, in which he said he felt angry "to his soul" over his treatment by the BBC.

Its Newsnight programme, broadcast on November 2, plunged the corporation further into crisis just as it was already reeling after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The show reported allegations from a child abuse victim that he was abused by a senior Conservative figure from the Thatcher era.

Although Lord McAlpine was not named, it sparked fevered speculation that led to the peer being identified online.

Days later, Schofield produced a list of alleged paedophiles whose names he had found on the internet during an interview with Mr Cameron.

The presenter said he had found them by trawling the web for a few minutes and suggested to the Prime Minister that he should speak to those being widely named.

Mr Cameron refused to even look at the list, which the presenter inadvertently showed on camera as he passed it over.

Visibly angry, he expressed concern about exactly that sort of speculation and warned against a "witch hunt".

Downing Street later condemned the confrontation as a "silly stunt" and it sparked more than 400 complaints to Ofcom.

The following day Lord McAlpine protested his innocence in a lengthy statement and his alleged victim later confirmed he had got the wrong man.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes