The BBC, ITV News and The Sun all aired the video footage of the alleged killer of a British soldier in London, his hands bloodied, still holding a meat cleaver.
The broadcasters are said to have received hundreds of complaints from viewers after showing the video. The Press Gazette caught up with spokespeople for the networks, who defended the decision to air it. They also spoke to a rep from Sky News, which opted not to air the video.
A spokesperson for ITV News said: “We carefully considered showing this footage ahead of broadcast and made the decision to do so on a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident that took place yesterday…
John McAndrew, executive editor at Sky News, said: “We assessed the video at a senior editorial level – several times. Given the detail we had already learned about the attack, we took the decision not to run the video as we believed it would have been unnecessarily distressing.”
As it happens, ITV’s decision also drew criticism, as The Guardian revealed that it cut out the suspect saying “The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.”