Channel 4 to issue Celebrity Big Brother apology

Channel 4 will be forced to issue an on-air apology over the alleged racist bullying in Celebrity Big Brother after media regulator Ofcom ruled it contravened its broadcasting code.

Ofcom concluded that Channel 4 breached the broadcasting code after making “serious editorial misjudgements” that were “compounded by a serious failure of its compliance process” in an adjudication report published today. It also ruled that the series breached the regulator’s broadcasting code on four separate occasions.

A statutory sanction will require the broadcaster to air a summary of Ofcom’s findings ahead of the launch programme of the new series, the following morning’s repeat and the first eviction show.

Channel 4 will also publish transcripts of a series of previously unheard and potentially racist conversations that took place within the Celebrity Big Brother house but will not have to pay a fine.

Ofcom launched its investigation after almost 50,000 complaints were made over the treatment of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty during Celebrity Big Brother in January.

Chief executive Ed Richards says: “Ofcom takes allegations of racist abuse and bullying on television extremely seriously. An unprecedented number of complaints were received and, whilst Celebrity Big Brother was still on-air, we launched a full investigation.

Channel 4 has accepted Ofcom’s adjudication about the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother. Chief executive Andy Duncan says: “We accept Ofcom’s judgement that on the occasions in question we did not ensure that Big Brother intervened with the necessary promptness or strength. We would like to say sorry once again for the offence caused to viewers as a result.”

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