Benefits Street Show Investigated By Ofcom
The TV regulator has said it will investigate the series Benefits Street to decide whether it broke broadcasting guidelines.
The Channel 4 programme received nearly 1,800 complaints and sparked political debate over its portrayal of the people who live on James Turner Street in Birmingham.
Many of the Winson Green street's residents were living on benefits and some scenes appeared to show them committing crimes.
The programme claimed to reveal "the reality of life on benefits" on "one of Britain's most benefit-dependent streets".
Ofcom will examine whether the programme may have caused offence by being misleading or unfair, and whether enough was done to protect under-18s in the show, as well as the way it depicted possible crimes.
There were 960 complaints to Ofcom and another 800 to Channel 4 about the show.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said: "Following the conclusion of Benefits Street, Ofcom can confirm that it has launched an investigation into the series."
The watchdog has a range of sanctions it can use if the channel is found to have breached regulations, from fines and licence removal to providing channels with more guidance.
A series of police raids last June led to some of the street's residents being charged with drug offences.
And some of the families featured in the show claimed they had been tricked into appearing and were angry at being depicted as lazy scroungers and irresponsible parents.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: "We are confident there has been no breach of the Ofcom code and will be providing a detailed and robust response to the investigation."
Previously the channel said it was filming in a "purely observational capacity".
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