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C4 suffers storm of criticism after Jon Snow 'rant'

LONDON - Channel 4 has received 90 complaints about its news coverage of Prince Harry's active service in Afghanistan, which was made public yesterday, after Jon Snow was accused of ranting about the media blackout.

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In the 'Channel 4 News' report last night, veteran broadcaster Jon Snow likened the UK media's cooperation in not reporting Prince Harry's duty in Afghanistan as akin to the press freedom standards in "a totalitarian regime"

He went on to question what else the UK media was "prepared to cover up".

In the report, Snow asked a panel audience if they could "think of another country where this would happen other than a totalitarian state?", and went on to liken the media blackout to that which occurs in China and Iran.

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 confirmed it had received 90 complaints yesterday, an almost tenfold increase on the five to 10 "on an average day" the broadcaster would receive.

The broadcaster said Snow's remarks were intended to illustrate an opposing view to whether the press made the right decision not to report Prince Harry's service.

Many complaints were printed on Channel 4's website where snow was accused of "ranting", "making unhelpful comments", being "shameful" and "idiotic".

One viewer on Channel's 4 website, JB Luckey, said: "Your much vaunted freedom of the press comes a very poor second to the sight of possible British troops returning home in coffins. I consider you a complete and utter disgrace."

The site also featured comments praising Snow.

As well as complaints to Channel 4, Ofcom has also received a number of complaints. The broadcasting watchdog said it had received four this morning from the public about the report, although the figure could now be higher because of a technical problem in registering complaints at the watchdog this afternoon.

The Drudge Report, which broke the press embargo on Prince Harry's deployment yesterday, has been criticised by sections of the UK media for acting irresponsibly by endangering the safety of UK and coalition soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Neil Wallis, executive editor of News of The World, heavily criticised the Drudge Report's decision to go public with Prince Harry's deployment, describing it as a "cheap hit".

He told Sky News: "For him [Drudge] to claim an exclusive on that was a cheap hit. Any number of newspapers or broadcasters in this country could have claimed that as far back as December.

"I also wonder if he would have done the same if it were George Bush's children or Hillary Clinton's child who was risking his life in Afghanistan.

"There was a consensus that was stuck to rigidly... this is not about censorship, this is about responsibility."

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