PCC receives 83 complaints over Woolwich attack press coverage

The Press Complaints Commission has so far received 83 complaints about newspaper stories relating to coverage of the murder last week of a soldier in Woolwich.

On Thursday morning, all but one national newspaper carried front page images of one of the perpetrators, with bloodied hands, delivering a political message in the moments after the attack in south London.

The PCC would not break down the complaints into individual papers.

Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott has revealed that many staff at the paper were uncomfortable with its coverage – in particular the front page.

He emailed staff for their views and of 60 who responded, he said,  about a third said they thought the way the story was presented was right.

Writing in the New Statesman, Sunder Katwala, a director of think tank British Future, also criticised the way the story was handled. He singled out the front pages of the Metro, the Guardian and the Telegraph as all running “headlines which primarily communicate the message of the murderers, so handing them the media megaphone which their crime was designed to create”.

He added: “Perhaps surprisingly, it is the Guardian's front page which comes uncomfortably close to being the poster front which the murderer might have designed for himself”.

Broadcasters have also come in for criticism over their use of video footage of Adeboloja’s rant. ITV received more than 400 complaints after becoming the first channel to show the video. However, a spokesperson for the channel said the decision had been made “on a public interest basis”.

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