Benefits Street In The Clear After Complaints
The controversial series Benefits Street, which received more than 900 complaints, has been cleared of breaching broadcasting rules.
The Channel 4 show, which followed the lives of people living on James Turner Street in Birmingham, caused a stir when it was screened in January.
Complainants expressed fears about the way in which benefit claimants in general were represented, concerns about the treatment of under-18s and the portrayal of what appeared to be criminal activities.
But the regulator Ofcom said the broadcaster did not breach any of its responsibilities under the broadcasting code.
The series was a ratings hit for Channel 4 but drew criticism for allegedly demonising those living on the breadline.
Ofcom ruled that the show did not claim to reflect the experiences of all claimants but had focused on residents in that street.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: "After a thorough assessment of the evidence, Ofcom found sufficient steps were taken before, during and after production to protect the welfare of the children that appeared in the programme and that any potentially offensive material was justified by the context in which it was presented. Ofcom has therefore concluded that the series did not breach its rules."
There were also 40 complaints about the programmes demonstrating criminal techniques, including shoplifting methods.
But Ofcom said it was satisfied that there was an editorial justification for their inclusion and there were not enough details for people to copy the techniques, so did not investigate further in its ruling.
A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said: "We welcome Ofcom's finding that Benefits Street did not breach the code in any respect.
"We are proud that our robust duty of care protocols for the child contributors have been praised for 'demonstrating best practice', and for the recognition that we 'ensured the interests of the under-18s who featured in Benefits Street were protected and that due care was applied before, during and after production'."