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UK Conservatives' complaint over TV ice sculpture stunt rejected

Tue, 3rd Dec 2019 12:19

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Britain's communications watchdog
has rejected a complaint by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's
Conservative Party over a broadcaster's decision to represent
him with a block of melting ice in a prime-time election debate
on the environment.

Last month, Channel 4, a commercially funded public-service
broadcaster invited leaders of all Britain's main political
parties to take part in the debate before Dec. 12's election,
but Johnson declined to attend.

The Conservatives offered former environment minister
Michael Gove as a substitute but Channel 4 said the debate was
only intended for party leaders and that the other political
parties would not agree to change the terms.

British television broadcasters are required to be
politically impartial, and face extra balance requirements
during election periods.

The Ofcom broadcast regulator rejected a complaint by the
Conservatives that Channel 4's actions amounted to denying the
party representation.

"Channel 4’s use of editorial techniques ensured that the
Conservative viewpoint on climate and environmental issues was
adequately reflected and given due weight," Ofcom said in a
statement on Tuesday.

"The Committee also took into account that the globe ice
sculpture was not a representation of the prime minister
personally, and little editorial focus was given to it, either
visually or in references made by the presenter or debate
participants."
(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

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