Newsnight cleared over David Starkey comments

Ofcom has come to its conclusion on Newsnight comments.

Newsnight has been cleared by Ofcom over comments made by the historian David Starkey about the riots that gripped London, Manchester, Birmingham and other English cities in August.

During an edition of BBC Two’s Newsnight a discussion on the riots affecting English cities prompting hundreds of complaints from viewers. Taking part in the debate was television historian David Starkey whose comments about the riots caused the outcry.

The historian claimed that “the problem is that the whites have become black” and blamed a ‘violent, destructive and nihilistic’ gang culture for the riots.  The furore surrounding the comments even said Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, joining in the criticism of the historian. However, the media regulator Ofcom has decided to take no further action against Newsnight.

“This was a serious and measured discussion within a programme with a well-established nature and format and with reputation for dealing with challenging subjects. The effect of his comments was limited by the presenter’s moderation of the item and his comments were countered by the views of other contributors,” Ofcom speaking to the Independent.

The debate was chaired by presenter Emily Maitlis who also came under fire from some for failing to effectively moderate the discussion. The BBC also received a number of complaints over the comments by Starkey but also received a small number supporting his views.

Newsnight airs weeknights at 10.25 pm on BBC Two.