Ofcom rejects Channel 4 Israel lobby film criticism

Channel Four's Dispatches aired a programme hosted by Peter Obourne attacking the Israeli lobby.

Channel Four's Dispatches aired a programme hosted by Peter Obourne attacking the Israeli lobby.

Ofcom, the broadcasting standards body, has rejected complaints of unfairness against an investigation into Britain’s “Israel lobby” broadcast by Channel 4 in November.

It said it had received 50 complaints about the Dispatches programme presented by journalist Peter Oborne.

Complainants had variously alleged that the programme “was biased against Israel and/or the Israeli government”; did not adequately explain the background to the Middle East situation; was antisemitic; and overly critical of certain lobby groups.

Although some viewers believed that groups featured in the programme such as Bicom, Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel had been unfairly treated, Ofcom commented: “Ofcom will normally only consider such complaints when they are made by a ‘person affected’ by a programme, for example a member of one of the organisations concerned or someone authorised by them.

"We have not received any such complaint and so did not to investigate these concerns further.”

It concluded: “we considered that the programme included views from the organisations and individuals highlighted in the programme as being active as lobbying in sympathy to the Israeli State. In Ofcom’s view, this was a legitimate investigation into the activities of lobby groups, which approached the subject with ‘due impartiality’”.

    Last updated: 2:01pm, March 22 2010