Sky News faces Ofcom probe after 200 people complain about MH17 crash report that saw Colin Brazier rifle through victim's suitcase

Sky News and Brazier were heavily criticised for the broadcast

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The Independent Online

Sky News is facing an Ofcom investigation after more than 200 people complained about a news report from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which saw a reporter rifling through a victim's suitcase.

The broadcaster was forced to apologise after the journalist Colin Brazier was filmed picking up a toiletry bag and a set of keys from an open suitcase at the scene of the devastating crash in eastern Ukraine.

During the broadcast, Brazier himself seemed to realise his mistake telling the audience: "I shouldn't really be doing this, I suppose."

He later also wrote an article for the Guardian in which he apologised for what he called a "serious error of judgment" and said, "at the weekend I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would."

The journalist described how the scene of the crash was "like a horror story" and how he "could not comprehend what were seeing".

He also described the moment he realised his mistake on picking up items from the suitcase: "As I did so my mental circuit-breaker finally engaged and I apologised instantly on-air for what I was doing. Other journalists, some well known broadcasters, were handling belongings and speaking to camera."

"In a place without rules, I foolishly took that as a precedent."

Sky News and Brazier were heavily criticised for the insensitivity of the broadcast and faced a sizable backlash on social networks with many viewers calling the report "shocking" and "disgusting".

Speaking at the time, a Sky News spokeswoman said: "Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused."

Brazier is described by Sky News as one of its "most widely travelled" reporters who has previously been honoured for his reporting in Afghanistan.

An Ofcom spokesman said: "Ofcom received over 200 complaints about this news report."

"Having assessed these, there are grounds to investigate under our rule on potentially offensive material. As in all investigations, we will take relevant circumstances into account, including any action taken by the broadcaster, in reaching a decision."

Additional reporting by PA.