OfCom Investigation after 2200+ Complaints into Matthew Wright Comments

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More than 2,200 complaints have been filed with UK broadcast regulator OfCom over UK host Matthew Wright making jokes about the murder of teenager Liam Aitchison, the Guardian reported.

The comment in question: Wright used a Scottish accent to quote a Scottish detective show’s line “there’s been another murder.”

Wright hosts a program called The Wright Stuff on Channel 5. The BBC reported Dec. 13 that OfCom will investigate Wright’s remarks.  OfCom’s Rhys Hurd told iMediaEthics by e-mail that OfCom is “investigating the comments under section 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code” which calls for broadcasters to “ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.”  According to the code, offensive material can include “language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity” and more.

Hurd told iMediaEthics that OfCom doesn’t know when its investigation will end “other than saying it will be in the new year.”

The UK Press Association reported earlier this month that Wright sent an apology letter to Aitchison’s family. Wright apologized Dec. 7, according to the BBC.   His apology read in part that he had “no intention … to belittle the seriousness or the tragedy of this story, or to offend anyone who knew Liam”.

In a Dec. 7 statement, the family said, according to the Press Association, “We are very disappointed at the insensitive and offensive nature of the comments made on the Channel 5 programme The Wright Stuff. This is very upsetting and insulting for not just the family, but for the whole community of the Western Isles.”

iMediaEthics has written to Channel 5’s press contact for comment about the investigation and will update with any response.

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OfCom Investigation after 2200+ Complaints into Matthew Wright Comments

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