Episodes of Channel 4 News and Sky News have made the top ten most complained about TV shows of the last decade, Ofcom has revealed.
An episode of Sky News on 27 September 2018 received 3,463 complaints, coming in at number four, with viewers alleging bias and defamation of character in the editing of Sky News’ interview with Tommy Robinson.
An episode of Channel 4 News on 29 March this year prompted 2,717 complaints, coming in at number six, when presenter Jon Snow said he had “never seen so many white people in one place” about a pro-Brexit rally.
This was also the most complained about TV episode of 2019.
Sky News with Kay Burley on 5 June 2015 drew 1,838 complaints, coming it at number ten, about the tone of Burley’s interview with the chief executive of Merlin Entertainment, Nick Varney, in the aftermath of the Alton Towers roller coaster crash that seriously injured five people.
All three were a long way behind the decade’s most-complained about TV episode, however, as Celebrity Big Brother drew 25,232 complaints.
All Out Politics on Sky News drew 526 complaints for an episode that aired on 31 October this year in which Lord Pearson made comments about Islam and Muslims that viewers said were potentially offensive.
It was the sixth most complained about episode of 2019.
Ofcom said it had assessed almost 28,000 complaints from TV and radio audiences in 2019, launching 121 investigations and upholding a breach of the broadcasting code in 55 cases.
Reality shows and news programmes dominated the most-complained about shows of the last decade.
Ofcom’s director of content standards, Tony Close, said that “in a time of political change, social media has also shaped increasingly passionate debate around news coverage”.
But he added: “While the overall volume of complaints we receive about a programme is certainly a good indicator that it needs examining, it’s not necessarily a sign that broadcasting rules have been broken.
“For example, shows with large audiences often generate more complaints because more people are watching. And we don’t need to receive any complaints to step in if a programme breaks our rules.”
Picture: Channel 4 News