These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for RUGBY WORLD CUP – FRANCE V FIJI
Channel: ITV (LWT)
Date & time: Saturday 16 October: 12.30pm
Complaint from: 14 viewers (upheld)
During live coverage of the match on ITV a French player petulantly threw the ball at a Fijian player and was, as a result, rebuked by the referee. One of the expert summarisers of the game referred to the French player as a ‘stroppy little frog’.
14 viewers complained to the ITC that they had found the remark unnecessary, offensive and racist.
The ITC Programme Code forbids the broadcasting of anything likely to be offensive to public feeling, and prohibits the use of racist terms.
The ITC discussed the matter with LWT (the broadcaster) and were told that both LWT and the programme’s producers had been dismayed by the remark. All the commentators had been briefed in advance against the possibility of causing offence. The rugby expert, in this instance (Steve Smith), had immediately been reprimanded by the Executive Producer of the Rugby World Cup. Independent Sports Network issued a short statement of apology for ITV Sport, which at least one national newspaper printed.
The ITC accepted that LWT had moved swiftly and appropriately following the incident. Nevertheless, the nature of the commentator’s remark and the offence caused led the ITC to conclude that the programme had been in breach of the Programme Code.