July 25, 2008
Wed 23/07/2008 17:16
From Andrew Morgan, Ofcom
Ofcom notes your comments on the reporting of its decision into The Great Global Warming Swindle and the wording in the notification email issued by Ofcom.
Ofcom distributes email notifications with the aim of alerting interested parties to the publication of specific Ofcom documents. As such, it is not always possible in these emails to include all the detail and relevant information behind announcements.
You state that Ofcom did not refer within the notification to specific guidance supporting Rule 2.2 of the Broadcasting Code. This states that the rule is designed to deal with content which materially misleads the audience so as to cause harm or offence. Nevertheless, the notification did state:
“….while Ofcom had concerns about aspects of the presentation (and omission) of facts and views within the programme, it did not believe, given the nature of the programme, that this led to the audience being materially misled. As such, Channel 4 has not been found in breach of Rule 2.2 of the Broadcasting Code.”
This paragraph of the notification focuses on the specific Rule set out in the Broadcasting Code which states:
“Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience”.
Ofcom could reasonably expect seasoned media correspondents who reported on the Finding to appreciate the significance of the words ‘materially misled’ in the notification and the meaning attached to them under the Code and its guidance.
It is also worth noting that the guidance you discussed was set out in the full findings within Broadcast Bulletin No. 114. In addition, please be reassured that Ofcom’s Media Office communicated this guidance in full to any journalists who contacted Ofcom regarding the outcome of its investigation.
Ofcom takes on board your comments, however in this case Ofcom will not be issuing a correction given the reasons detailed above.
July 25, 2008
Dear Mr Morrison
Freedom of Information: Right to know request
Thank you for your request for information regarding The Great Global Warming Swindle.
Your request was received on 23 July 2008 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’).
Generally any information provided will consist of copies of original documents in paper or electronic format.
Where we hold the information you have requested we will endeavour to answer your request in full and within 20 working days. If we are unable to provide the information requested, we will explain why under the Act the information has not been provided.
If you have any queries then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
Thank you Eleanor,
There is however an outstanding question in my email of yesterday evening, and to which I still require a prompt response:
- Will OFCOM produce a new Update as a matter of urgency; to correct this error while the matter is still a matter of public discussion; and will you circulate this correction directly to editors of the national media?
I assume that Andrew Morgan or Stewart Purvis will be in touch today with a response to this question?