British TV personality, Piers Morgan has expressed his excitement after being cleared of breaching British broadcasting rules by UK media regulaor, Ofcom following comments he made on air about Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, after her bombshell interview with media mogul, Oprah Winfrey.
Mr. Morgan had been under investigation by Ofcom, the media regulator, which received a record number of complaints in March after he criticized Meghan on air and said he did not believe her accounts of being poorly treated by the royal establishment.
In the March 8 edition of ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” show, Morgan questioned whether Meghan was being truthful about having suicidal thoughts — a major revelation from her blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey. His comments sparked a huge controversy in Britain.
The former talk show host’s comments became the most complained about TV moment in Ofcom’s history. Meghan herself also contacted ITV to tell them that his comments could be harmful to others suffering from mental health issues.
After ITV asked the TV presenter to apologise for what he said, he opted for dramatically walking off the set and quitting. Justifying what it described as a “finely-balanced” decision, Ofcom said the comments were potentially “harmful and offensive to viewers” but it took into account freedom of expression and the “strong challenge” of Morgan’s co-host on the show, which prompted him to walk off set.
Ofcom declared he had a right to “disbelieve” Meghan Markle during the infamous Good Morning Britain moment.
In a 97-page ruling outlining the decision, Ofcom said; “Mr. Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.” Mr. Morgan has now expressed delight on Twitter about the decision to clear him, writing that it was a “resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios.”
He wrote; “BREAKING: @Ofcom rejects all complaints against me over Meghan Markle furore that led to my exit from @GMB.”Verdict says I was entitled to disbelieve her & Prince Harry & to restrict my right to do so would be a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression.’”
He also included a screenshot of Ofcom’s statement, which read; “The Code allows for individuals to express strongly held and robustly argued views, including those that are potentially harmful or highly offensive, and for broadcasters to include these in their programming.
“The restrictions of such views would, in our view, be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and the audience.”
After the prime-time interview with Ms. Winfrey aired, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were thrust into the center of a national debate around race, mental health and the royal family that divided the British public.
Harry and Meghan blamed the British press for driving them out of the country with its relentless attacks on the duchess, but the Society of Editors, an influential news media society, denied that racism had been a factor in coverage of the couple.
The organization later made an embarrassing U-turn after more than 160 journalists of color signed an open letter rejecting that contention.
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