Dramatic footage showing a suspect carrying bloodied knives in the aftermath of the murder of a soldier in Woolwich has so far prompted relatively few complaints to broadcasters, despite attracting millions of viewers around the world.
The video, which was first broadcast by ITN-produced ITV News on its 6.30pm bulletin on Wednesday, had prompted about 800 complaints to the BBC, ITV and media regulator Ofcom by lunchtime on Thursday.
The bulk of the complaints, 500, directly to ITV, with Ofcom receiving about 100 separate complaints about the channel's decision to air the film.
An ITV News spokesman said:
We carefully considered showing this footage ahead of broadcast and made the decision to do so on a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident that took place yesterday. It was editorially justified to show
such footage in the aftermath of such a shocking attack, and we prefaced it on ITV News at 6.30pm and News at Ten with appropriate warnings to make viewers aware in advance of the graphic images about to be shown.
After midnight on Wednesday, ITV edited the video on its website to obscure the body of the soldier and the face of the second suspect. It is understood that this was after editors decided there was less public interest justification in showing the
unedited footage to a Thursday lunchtime audience.
The BBC, which also broadcast the Woolwich footage, said it had recorded approximately 200 complaints. The BBC posted its response as follows:
We have received complaints from viewers who felt that it was inappropriate to broadcast footage of one of the suspected attackers in Woolwich making a statement after the attack.
We also received complaints that the accompanying footage we broadcast in our news reports on this story was too graphic and distressing.
The BBC's response
In our coverage of the Woolwich murder we thought very carefully about the pictures we used to tell the story. We gave great consideration to how we used the footage of the attacker. The footage, captured by a bystander, was an important element of the
story and shed light on the perpetrators and the possible motives for the attack. We did not show the footage in its entirety, we gave warnings for pre-watershed transmission and dealt with the material as carefully as we could.
Where there were distressing images we used them sparingly and again, we gave warnings for pre-watershed transmission. We acknowledge that some of the images central to reporting the story were distressing and we were very mindful of possible audience
sensitivity when we used them.
Some UK politicians have said the murder of a soldier in Woolwich, London this week demonstrates the need for greater surveillance of communications data. But would a snooper's charter really have made a difference?
The murder of soldier Lee Rigby has unsurprisingly provoked a backlash of anger across the UK, including the attacking of mosques, racial abuse and comments made on social media. Eleven people have been arrested around Britain for making racist or
anti-religious comments on Twitter following the brutal killing in Woolwich.
The incident has also prompted a huge increase in anti-Muslim incidents, according to the organisation Faith Matters, which works to reduce extremism. Before the attack about four to eight cases a day were reported to its helpline. But the group said
about 150 incidents had been reported in the last few days, including attacks on mosques.
Two men from Bristol, were held under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred. Detective Inspector Ed Yaxley of Avon and Somerset Police said:
These comments were directed against a section of our community. Comments such as these are completely unacceptable and only cause more harm to our community in Bristol.
Surrey Police said a man has been charged in connection with comments placed on a social media website following the murder of the soldier. Superintendent Matt Goodridge said:
Surrey Police will not tolerate language used in a public place, including on social media websites, which causes harassment, alarm or distress.
A Hastings man has been charged by police after allegedly posting an offensive message on Facebook.
Meanwhile, a Southsea woman has been charged with allegedly sending a grossly offensive message on Facebook, an offence contrary to Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.
Police have also arrested three people ahead of an EDL protest for allegedly making racist tweets.
Actors were briefly shown vaguely waving bloody knives and cleavers like killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. This occurred as a a throwaway reference to the UK in a spoof of the Eurovision Song Contest.
A spoof compere was doing the rounds interviewing people sitting at tables representing a few European states. When he approached the UK table he asked those sitting there to wave to the camera. They were shown to be holding knives as per the Woolwich
terrorist. The compere then pretended to run away screaming.
The show was Saturday night's Langs de Leeuw show on Holland's publicly-owned VARA channel. The same programme caused 'ourtrage' last week with a presenter sampling breast milk direct from a participant.
The latest sketch sparked a little 'outrage' from Dutch viewers via the inevitable Twitter.
Niet Mohammed wrote: Has Paul de Leeuw no shame?
DCorleone59 added: For almost 400,000 euros a year, Paul de Leeuw makes fun of the brutal killing of Lee Rigby.
Edin Mujagic wrote: Someone killed with a machete is NOT, I repeat NOT funny!
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has received 83 complaints about newspaper coverage of the Woolwich muslim terrorist attack.
Readers contacted PCC about the stories and pictures used by newspapers, including tabloids and broadsheet titles. Each of the national titles carried dramatic front pages the following day showing one of the murder suspects with bloodied hands,
prompting criticism from some readers.
The PCC declined to say which titles it had received complaints about, but said it may break down the figure at a later date.
Ofcom has completed its investigation into the broadcast coverage of the killing of Fusilier Rigby on 22 May 2013. However, due to ongoing criminal proceedings, Ofcom is delaying the publication of its decisions.
Ofcom will publish its decisions on completion of the criminal proceedings.
Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky News are understood to have been cleared of breaking TV censorship rules by airing graphic footage of soldier Lee Rigby's murder.
TV censor Ofcom received nearly 700 complaints about TV news coverage of the Woolwich attack in which Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic footage filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the assailants with blood on his
Michael Adelbolajo and Michael Adebowale were convicted of murdering Rigby thsi week at the Old Bailey.
Ofcom had been waiting on the end of the trial before announcing their decision whether to uphold complaints about the news coverage. It is now understood that Ofcom has cleared all the broadcasters on the basis that showing the footage was in the public
A spokesman for Ofcom said:
Ofcom plans to publish the full and detailed outcome of its investigations under the broadcasting code in its regular broadcast bulletin, with the next one due out early in the new year.
The two terrorists who murdered British soldier Lee Rigby on a south London street fought with guards in the dock of the court yards from the grieving family of the soldier they butchered as a judge sentenced the mastermind of the attack to die in
Michael Adebolajo who hacked at Rigby's head, was sentenced to a whole-life term for leading the first al-Qaida- inspired terrorist attack on British soil to claim a life since the 7 July bombings eight years ago. The sentence means he is unlikely to
ever be released.
His accomplice, Michael Adebowale, who stabbed at the soldier's torso, was ordered to serve a minimum of 45 years in jail. Both men had been convicted unanimously by a jury in December.
The men disrupted sentencing at the Old Bailey, with the dead soldier's family sitting nearby, as the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, branded them traitors to their religion. The judge began sentencing for the sickening and pitiless attack by saying
that Adebolajo and Adebowale were converts to Islam who became radicalised and extremists.
Adebolajo had claimed his act of butchery was a military strike commanded by God and that he was a soldier of Allah.