Entertainment & Arts

Andrew Marr's Marine Le Pen interview 'justified', Ofcom says

Andrew Marr and Marine Le Pen Image copyright Getty/AFP
Image caption Marr's interview was recorded the Thursday before transmission

An Andrew Marr interview with French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen broadcast on Remembrance Sunday "was justified", according to Ofcom.

The media watchdog will not now investigate further.

"We assessed 11 complaints that an interview with Marine Le Pen should not have featured in this programme on Remembrance Sunday," it said.

"The interview included appropriate challenges to Marine Le Pen's views and was justified by the context."

Introducing the interview for BBC One's Andrew Marr Show on 13 November, the host said: "I know this morning some people are offended and upset that I have been to interview Marine Le Pen and that we are showing this interview on Remembrance Sunday.

"I understand that, but I would say this. Le Pen could under some circumstances become the next French president in the spring.

"This week in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory, she has declared that the whole world has changed and that her brand of politics is on the march.

"What does that mean? In the end we are a news programme and I don't think that the best way to honour the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge to Western security."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Frank Skinner's radio show was censured for playing a song with two swear words

Meanwhile, Ofcom found another BBC programme not in breach of its broadcasting guidelines.

The decision relates to two complaints about The Late Show with Ian Timms on BBC Radio Cumbria, broadcast on 9 August.

Timms made comments about the results of a fictional sailing event in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He announced which countries had "taken" gold and silver medals, and then said: "Somalia have taken a middle-aged couple who were sailing round the world.

"Indeed, the Somali Olympic coach has had to apologise to officials on behalf of the team, after realising that shooting and sailing were in fact different events."

An Ofcom spokesperson said: "We found the presenter's comments were in keeping with his well-established style, and consistent with audience expectations for this programme.

"However, we have warned the broadcaster about airing material that inappropriately relies on national stereotypes."

'Genuine mistake'

Another Ofcom investigation found Frank Skinner's Absolute Radio Saturday morning show in breach for broadcasting the track Narwhal by the band Xylaroo, which featured two expletives.

The broadcast fell foul of Ofcom's code, which states: "The most offensive language must not be broadcast… when children are particularly likely to be listening." The song was played at 09:30 BST on 1 October.

Absolute Radio said "we regrettably agree" the incident was a breach of the code and apologised for what it described as "a genuine mistake from a team with an unblemished record in this area".

It said it had processes in place to address the issue of offensive language in content broadcast on Absolute Radio and that these had "worked well up to this point".

The station said it had now added "a further layer of monitoring" by a senior member of staff.

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