This Morning will be investigated by the broadcasting regulator after host Phillip Schofield presented a list of alleged paedophiles to David Cameron. ITV has already taken disciplinary action.
Ofcom was asked to investigate complaints that Mr Schofield breached the broadcasting code when he handed the prime minister a list of politicians allegedly connected with unproved allegations of abuse that he found “in three minutes” on the internet. He then asked Mr Cameron whether the allegations would be investigated.
ITV said this morning that it had taken “appropriate disciplinary action” after it launched an investigation into the programme, which was aired on 8 November.
The episode sparked complaints from viewers, some of whom said that they could see some of the names on the list, and some raised concerns that Schofield had handed the list over live on air. Schofield, who was today seen lying down in the back of a car fleeing a waiting press pack, has since apologised for the matter.
ITV declined to give further details about what action had been taken, but some reports have suggested that ITV reprimanded the presenter.
An ITV spokesman said: “Last Thursday we began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mistake on that day’s This Morning programme, for which both Phillip Schofield and ITV apologised.
“This investigation has now concluded and the appropriate disciplinary action taken. We sincerely apologise because the way in which the issue was raised was clearly wrong and should have been handled differently.
“We have taken steps to make sure our editorial processes are always properly followed, which was not the case in this instance, and to ensure such an error will not be made again.”
Ofcom said that it had received 415 complaints about the episode, including one made by Rob Wilson MP.
In their response to the MP, they said that they would investigate whether ITV was in breach of the rules by “failing to provide an opportunity to respond to the individuals whose names were disclosed by Phillip Schofield”.
The complaint relates to section 7.11 of Ofcom’s broadcasting code, which states: “If a programme alleges wrongdoing or incompetence or makes other significant allegations, those concerned should normally be given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond.”
Mr Schofield previously admitted that a “misjudged camera angle” may have inadvertently exposed some of the names.
“It any viewer was able to identify anyone listed, I would like to apologise and stress that was never my intention,” he said.
“I was not accusing anyone of anything and it is essential that it is understood that I would never be a part of any kind of witch hunt.
“Unfortunately there may have been a misjudged camera angle for a split second as I showed the prime minister some information I had obtained from the internet.
“I asked for his reaction to give him the opportunity to make a point which he very clearly made about the dangers of any witch hunt.”