Channel 4 News’s reports on Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith’s election campaign expenses did not treat the MP unfairly, Ofcom ruled today.
Goldsmith complained to the broadcast regulator about Channel 4 News’s report on 15 July last year. Its investigation, produced in association with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, looked at the MP’s successful campaign for the Richmond Park and North Kingston constituency in London and raised questions about the expenses he had claimed.
Goldsmith appeared on the programme the following evening and had a heated exchange with presenter Jon Snow. The MP claimed that he had not been given a fair chance to respond to the allegations in the previous night’s report. Snow said that that was a “complete travesty of the truth”.
Channel 4 provided Ofcom with details of the email and telephone exchanges with Goldsmith and his agent. The broadcaster said he was told of the allegations well in advance and was given more than a fair opportunity to respond.
Channel 4 also said it did not accept that it had implied on air that Goldsmith had turned down an interview.
In a lengthy adjudication published this morning, Ofcom agreed with Channel 4. It ruled that Goldsmith was given “an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the allegations” and Channel 4 had fairly presented the response from his agent and from the Conservative party.
The regulator concluded that the programme did not imply that Goldsmith had chosen not to be interviewed by Channel 4.