Channel 4 News faces Ofcom investigation over coverage of Westminster terror attack

Senior home affairs correspondent Simon Israel named the wrong man as the attacker and was forced to backtrack

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Channel 4 News will face an Ofcom investigation after naming the wrong individual as the Westminster terror attacker live on air. 

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On the afternoon of 22nd March, a 52-year-old Briton named Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer outside Parliament, killing four and injuring many more.

Police did not immediately release details of the attacker. 

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However, Channel 4 News’ senior home affairs correspondent Simon Israel told viewers that the man was believed to be Abu Izzadeen, formerly known as Trevor Brooks. 

His error quickly came to light, and Jon Snow interrupted the broadcast to issue a correction, saying: “Sorry to cut you off. We’ve got a little bit more on this fast-developing story about today’s attack in Westminster.

“Channel 4 News has been contacted by Abu Izzadeen’s brother, who tells this programme that he is in fact still serving a prison sentence. That from Yusuf Brooks, brother of Trevor Brooks, also known as Abu Izzadeen.”

The broadcaster pulled a repeat of the programme from Channel 4+1.

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom told RadioTimes.com it had received 12 complaints about the incident. 

“We’re investigating this news item on the recent Westminster attack, which named the wrong person as being responsible,” a spokesman said.

The programme’s editor Ben de Pear later issued a statement, saying: “This was a fast-moving story and while we were on air conflicting information came to light which we then worked to corroborate.

“During the course of the programme we acted swiftly to correct and clarify the information.”

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Ofcom’s broadcasting code states that news must be reported with “due accuracy”, but that “significant mistakes in news should normally be acknowledged and corrected on air quickly.”