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October 7, 2014

I make mistakes at work. So do you. So does Sky’s Colin Brazier. So Ofcom’s ruling is welcome

By Cleland Thom

I welcome Ofcom's decision to take no further action against Sky TV’s Colin Brazier over his report of the MH17 air disaster in Ukraine.

But its criticism of him is still harsh.

Colin is a human being. That means he makes mistakes at work, the same as you and me.

He acknowledges that he messed up when he rifled through the luggage of a flight MH17 victim live on air.

And he rightly apologised for what was a minor transgression when set against his exceptional career.

But that wasn’t enough for the ‘I’m offended’ mob, who, predictably wanted Ofcom and Sky to deal with him severely.

These people always do. In their worlds, Other People cannot make innocent mistakes. Other People don’t get second chances. Other People deserve punishment and vilification if they get something wrong.

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So long as it’s Other People and not them.

If we want fantastic live TV coverage of disasters and wars, we will get mistakes, because reporters work in terrifying situations and appalling conditions. If people aren’t prepared for that, they shouldn't watch it.

Maybe Colin’s critics should join him at the scene of the next serious accident. I’ve covered them. They're not nice.

It involves trudging through pints of blood, throwing up when you see severed heads, limbs and body parts. It means crying at the lifeless bodies, and then learning to live with the memories for years afterwards.

Colin’s critics would have lasted about 30 seconds at the MH17 crash site before reaching for an absent sick bag and then passing out.

They wouldn’t have had the courage to make a mistake.

Cleland Thom runs media law refresher courses

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