A UK news station has been censured by industry regulator Ofcom after being found guilty of quoting a police officer out of context, Journalism.co.uk reported. As a result, the broadcast station, ITV News, had to air Ofcom’s ruling.
ITV aired comments made by Meredydd Hughes, South Yorkshire Police’s chief constable, in a December 2009 news report about a “problem family in Doncaster who had a total of four ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) and were the subject of more than 100 complaints” and in a follow-up report in January 2010.
Hughes was quoted as saying: “Let’s keep it in perspective, no one’s being murdered, no one’s being assaulted, no one’s being robbed. In this case, we have neighbours who have to get along and we’ll do our best to sort it out.”
A presenter described Hughes’ comments as “an example of ‘a chief constable who doesn’t get it.'”
However, Hughes filed a complaint with Ofcom claiming that “the edited clip had been taken out of context and wrongly portrayed him as shrugging off the problem.” Further, Hughes claimed “the presenter wrongly and unfairly characterised him and his views, alleged that he was incompetent and, in specifically naming him, this amounted to a personal attack.”
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ITV News defended itself, stating that Hughes’ “comments were summarised in all reports.”
Ofcom stated: “The programme makers’ failure to fairly represent these comments and only to rely on the limited extract in the programme as broadcast resulted in Mr Hughes’ comments being used out of the full context. Ofcom concluded therefore that to present Mr Hughes’ comments out of the context in which they were given resulted in unfairness to him.”
However, Ofcom didn’t find that the interview had been “unfairly edited” or that Hughes was “unfairly characterised by the presenter.”
iMediaEthics wrote about Ofcom earlier this year when it decided against investigating the BBC over an interview with student protestor Jody McIntyre — despite more than 400 complaints from the public.