Offence caused by comments about teenager’s death

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Following an investigation by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom into the Channel 5 show ‘The Wright Stuff’ regarding its coverage of the death of Western Isles teenager, Liam Aitchison it has been stated that the comments on the programme had caused “considerable offence”.

Liam was allegedly murdered at the end of last year prompting the programme presenters to joke “there’s been another murder” a phrase adopted from cop TV show Taggart.

More than 2,200 public complaints were lodged with Ofcom about the incident.

Ofcom said the remarks were “clearly capable of causing offence” to viewers given the sensitivity surrounding the 16 year old’s death.

Detailed in Ofcom’s report about the matter Channel 5 said that it: “Entirely accepted that the comments made by Matthew Wright and Charlie Baker (presenters) on the programme were unfortunate, misjudged and entirely inappropriate”.

Channel 5 also admitted that it would have been better to issue an apology about the comments in the December 6th programme and: “it is regrettable that this did not occur”.

Following the public outcry editions of The Wright Stuff broadcast on December 6th and 7th were removed from the Channel’s online catch up service to minimise the potential to cause further offence to viewers. The Channel also launched a review of the editorial and compliance guidelines and processes in place between Channel 5 and the production company responsible for the programme.

Matthew Wright had also personally written and telephoned Liam Aitchison’s family and issued a public apology in his weekly column in the “Star on Sunday” newspaper.

The report concludes: “Ofcom recognises that the comments caused considerable offence, particularly to viewers in Scotland. On balance, however, and in light of the steps taken by Channel

5 to mitigate this offence, Ofcom consider the matter resolved.”