ITV's Good Morning Britain has been warned by Ofcom over Piers Morgan's comments

by Gary Flockhart

ITV has been handed a warning over Piers Morgan's "combative presenting", after Good Morning Britain avoided an Ofcom investigation.

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The controversial television presenter was accused of "mocking" the Chinese language during an episode in January.

Ofcom launched a preliminary investigation after receiving over 1,600 complaints from viewers, who considered the action was offensive and racist.

The broadcasting watchdog - which has the power to punish those who breach regulations - has decided not to pursue the complaints.

But, it warned ITV, “There are compliance risks in relying on a ‘combative dynamic’ between presenters as a way to provide challenge and context for the broadcast of content which may cause offence.”

'A robust approach to discussing topical stories'

ITV had argued that Good Morning Britain has a “robust approach to discussing topical stories” based on its “combative dynamic” between hosts Morgan and Susanna Reid.

The broadcaster admitted Morgan’s imitation of a Chinese accent was “clumsy” and the use of the words “ching chang” had potential to cause offence.

Ofcom conceded that Reid made several immediate attempts to challenge Morgan when he imitated the Chinese language. Including telling him, “Taking the mickey out of foreign languages is rather 1970… you can’t... Piers do you not realise the kind of woke times we’re living in?”

Morgan denied on Twitter that his actions were racist and ITV said in a statement it “regretted” any offence he may have caused.

In a statement, released on 3 March, ITV said, “These comments were intended to mock a member of the Royal Family and were not intended to mock or denigrate Chinese people, their language or accent.

“ITV regrets any offence Piers' comments may unintentionally have caused.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman

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