BBC News, Coverage of the Woolwich attacks, 22 May 2013

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We have received complaints from viewers who felt that it was inappropriate to broadcast footage of one of the suspected attackers in Woolwich making a statement after the attack.

We also received complaints that the accompanying footage we broadcast in our news reports on this story was too graphic and distressing.

The BBC’s response

In our coverage of the Woolwich murder we thought very carefully about the pictures we used to tell the story. We gave great consideration to how we used the footage of the attacker. The footage, captured by a bystander, was an important element of the story and shed light on the perpetrators and the possible motives for the attack. We did not show the footage in its entirety, we gave warnings for pre-watershed transmission and dealt with the material as carefully as we could.

Where there were distressing images we used them sparingly and again, we gave warnings for pre-watershed transmission. We acknowledge that some of the images central to reporting the story were distressing and we were very mindful of possible audience sensitivity when we used them.

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