Footage of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi badly injured shortly before his death was not too graphic to broadcast despite hundreds of complaints from viewers, media regulator Ofcom has ruled.
Ofcom said on Monday that it would not investigate complaints about the coverage, which included footage of the wounded, bloodied and beaten dictator moments before his death on 20 October and other video and photographs of his body after he died.
The BBC alone received 473 complaints after the images were broadcast on its rolling news channel and main BBC1 bulletins in the week after Gaddafi's death, of which 197 were in the first 24 hours. A further 136 complaints were made to Ofcom about coverage on Sky News, ITV News, Channel 4 News and al-Jazeera.
Sky News prompted the most complaints to Ofcom, according to the regulator's broadcast bulletin published on Monday.
Ofcom received 58 complaints about Gaddafi footage on Sky News on 20 and 21 October. Coverage on BBC1 and the BBC News Channel prompted 35 complaints to Ofcom on both days, and hundreds more complained to the corporation itself.
ITV News footage saw 29 complaints to the regulator, Channel 4 News prompted seven, and al-Jazeera prompted one complaint.
A spokeswoman for Ofcom said the regulator had decided not to investigate after it found that the broadcasts of Gaddafi's final minutes were "appropriately limited both pre- and post-watershed".
Mary Hockaday, head of the BBC multimedia newsroom, defended the corporation's use of grainy and unverified pictures of Gaddafi's body on the day after his death, saying it was editorially justified to convey the scale of the "dramatic and gruesome" events.
Like most major news organisations in Britain and overseas, newspapers also published the unverified pictures on their websites and in print on 21 October.
The Sun's front page carried a blown-up picture of a battered Gaddafi under the headline "That's for Lockerbie. And for Yvonne Fletcher. And IRA Semtex victims" on the day after the former dictator's death. The Guardian's front page had the same picture, with the headline "Death of a dictator".