Diana documentary ruled "not insensitive"

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LONDON, Sep 24 (Reuters) A controversial television documentary about the death of Prince Diana was not insensitive, disrespectful or in breach of broadcasting standards, Britain's media watchdog has ruled.

Ofcom rejected more than 60 complaints about the Channel 4 documentary, ''Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel'', about the events surrounding the 1997 death of the Princess of Wales in Paris.

The documentary, broadcast in June, focused on the paparazzis' role in the accident that also killed her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

Channel 4, which welcomed the ruling, was at the centre of a bitter row after it was heavily criticised for airing the documentary -- watched by 3.8 million people -- that contained several pictures of the fatally injured Princess.

Her sons Prince Harry and Prince William wrote to the broadcaster pleading with it not to publish the poor quality, black and white pictures of their mother after the crash -- a request Channel 4 dismissed.

One image showed the Princess receiving oxygen from a French medic, which was used in his testimony about the fatal accident.

Her face was obscured and her injuries not visible to viewers.

The Princes had described the film as a ''gross disrespect'' to their mother's memory.

Channel 4 aired the documentary saying it was in the wider public interest.

Ofcom today rejected the complaints that Channel 4 had been insensitive and disrespectful and said the decision to air the documentary was ''clearly a matter of public interest''.

It said the controversial photographs were not used in a ''gratuitous manner and were not sensationalised''.

''The subject of this documentary is a highly sensitive issue and such photographs can understandably upset viewers and cause offence,'' it ruled.

''However, this was a serious piece of investigative journalism examining issues and events which remain firmly in the public consciousness.

''The photographs included in the programme were integral to the credibility of the argument being made and the corroborated first hand testimony.'' REUTERS JK KP1909

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