Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham has rejected criticism that the broadcaster's decision to air the Muslim call to prayer at 3am was "patronising".

Abraham told MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday that the daily broadcast fit "absolutely" with its public service remit and that it has attracted 181,000 viewers – almost triple its usual audience at 3am.

"I think it's a very thoughtful exercise in public service broadcasting," he said. "At a more general level, it is the case that the predominance of coverage associated [with Islam] is not positive and this is positive and it should be recognised for that."

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