Tories complaint over Channel 4’s Boris Johnson ice sculpture stunt rejected by Ofcom

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Channel 4 has been cleared over its use of an ice sculpture to stand in for Boris Johnson during a debate on climate change, regulator Ofcom has said.

The watchdog’s Election Committee said the prop “was not a representation of the Prime Minister personally”, and that “little editorial focus was given to it, either visually or in references made by the presenter or debate participants”.

The Conservatives complained that the broadcaster failed to allow the former environment secretary Michael Gove to be its representative for the debate, which saw party leaders face questions over how they would tackle climate change.

But the regulator rejected the Tories’ complaint.

An ice sculpture is put in place for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the studio before the start of the Channel 4 News’ General Election climate debate

In its ruling, Ofcom’s Election Committee said: “Broadcasters have editorial freedom in determining the format of any election debate.

“Depending on the circumstances, they may choose to proceed without having agreed the participation of a particular political party or politician, providing they take steps to ensure the programme complies with our due impartiality and elections rules.

“In this case, the Election Committee concluded that, across the one-hour debate and a subsequent news programme, Channel 4’s use of editorial techniques ensured that the Conservative’s viewpoint on climate and environmental issues was adequately reflected and given due weight.

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