On Wednesday 15 September, Richard Madley and Susanna Reid interviewed Shamima Begum – nicknamed “ISIS Bride” – live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, but viewers were not at all sympathetic.
Since then, Ofcom has received as many as 273 complaints regarding the interview.
Talking from al-Roj prison camp in Syria, the 21-year-old was asked why the British public should forgive her. “Because I made a mistake at a very young age, and most young people don’t know what they want to do with their lives,” she replied.
When Susanna went on to describe ISIS as a “death cult”, Shamima insisted that she did not know how bad the organization was, and thought it was only an Islamic community. She claimed that they took advantage of her innocence.
“I did not know that there was war… well I did know there was a war, but not where women and children were living. I did not know that ISIS were trying to take over the world,” she said.
Adding that “the reason I came to Syria was not for any violent reasons, I did not want to hurt anyone in Syria or anywhere else in the world.”
Following the interview, viewers took to Twitter to express their anger and criticize the channel for giving Shamima this airtime. One of those viewers tweeted: “I am highly offended that Good Morning Britain has taken Piers Morgan off my screen and put Shamima Begum on it!!” Another said he had to switch to BBC because of the interview.
Ofcom claims that “the inclusion or omission of a programme on this list is not indicative that Ofcom is investigating the broadcast.
“The number of complaints received is not an indication of how serious an issue is. All complaints are assessed against the Broadcasting Code.”