Sky News Coverage of Malaysia Airlines Crash Leads to Investigation

4:15 AM PST 08/19/2014 by Georg Szalai

Britain's media watchdog will probe the network after viewers complained about a reporter who rummaged through a victim's luggage‎

U.K. media watchdog Ofcom will launch an investigation into Sky News’ coverage of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which drew more than 200 complaints from viewers after reporter Colin Brazier rummaged through the luggage of a dead passenger.

The organization said it received complaints after the July 20 live report from the crash site in the Ukraine, during which Brazier went through the luggage.

The Guardian reported that the segment drew the most complaints of the year for Sky News, which is part of U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake. Sky News and Brazier apologized amid viewer criticism, with the latter acknowledging an “error of judgment."

Even during the segment, Brazier had said: ‎"We shouldn't really be doing this, I suppose."

A spokesman for Ofcom told The Guardian: "There are grounds to investigate under our rule on potentially offensive material. As in all investigations, we will take relevant circumstances into account, including any action taken by the broadcaster, in reaching a decision.”

Viewers took to Twitter after the Sky News live report, complaining that the segment was in bad taste.

In a first reaction, Sky News said then: "Today whilst presenting from the site of MH17 air crash, Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags. Colin immediately recognized that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologize profusely for any offense caused."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai 

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