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Watchdog clears TV stations over coverage of Rigby death

Communications watchdog Ofcom has cleared the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 of breaching the broadcasting code after they interviewed Anjem Choudary, the former leader of banned Islamic group Al Muhajiroun, following the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

The cleric appeared on Newsnight and Channel 4 News on May 23, and Daybreak the day after, sparking complaints to Ofcom that his appearance was "disrespectful" to the dead soldier's family and likely to "incite hatred" against Muslims.

During the Daybreak interview, Mr Choudary said Michael Adebolajo, who was subsequently found guilty of Fusilier Rigby's murder along with Michael Adebowale, was "considered to be courageous and a hero" in many Muslim countries.

His appearances sparked controversy at the time, with Home Secretary Theresa May saying the Government had to look at "whether we've got the right processes, the right rules in place in relation to what is being beamed into people's homes".

All three broadcasters told Ofcom they were aware Mr Choudary's views could cause "offence" but defended giving him airtime,.

Ofcom found all three broadcasters were not in breach and said the code could not "prohibit particular individuals from appearing on UK television and radio just because their views or actions have the potential to cause offence", but warned that broadcasters should "ensure that their views are challenged and contextualised as appropriate".

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