The controversial documentary Benefits Street is a "misrepresentation" of life for people on social security, according to a senior MP.
Dame Anne Begg says the Channel 4 show claimed it would portray life on a street where three-quarters of residents were on benefits, but then focused almost exclusively on those receiving unemployment benefits, which make up only a small proportion of the overall social security bill.
She said: "What struck me is it was called Benefits Street and then three-quarters or more of the programme followed one storyline which was about a petty criminal and shoplifter and how he lived on the proceeds of his crime, rather than the reality of what people face when they live on benefits."
The documentary depicted the lives of residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham, sparked hundreds of complaints to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and Channel 4 about the way it portrayed people on benefits. Some residents claimed they were tricked by film-makers into taking part.
But Channel 4 insists that it was "very clear and transparent" with those taking part about the nature of the programme it envisaged.
Channel 4 have been accused of "stirring up hatred" and creating a "skewed image" of society through their controversial programme Benefits Street.
In a petition to Change.org, Arshad Mahmood called on the television network to cancel the remaining episodes in the series. He said:
I have worked for 33 years but after major surgery am now unable to work and receive some benefits. The backlash and abuse of social networks towards people on benefits as a result of this show has shocked me. This is not a responsible approach from a public service broadcaster.
Channel 4 should not broadcast any further episodes of the program - it is creating a skewed image of a section of society and stirring up hatred. This is not a responsible approach from a public service broadcaster.
More than 5,000 people have signed his petition so far.
Channel 4 said that the series, filmed for more than a year, was "a fair reflection of the reality of life on a street where the majority of households receive benefits".
It was "a sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits," it said.
It said that contributors were "briefed extensively" before filming took place and were "given support all the way thorough the process".
"The main contributors have been offered the opportunity to view the programmes they feature in before transmission. We took on board their comments and in some cases made changes to the programmes," it added.
On alleged criminal activity, Channel 4 said:
"The production crew were filming in a purely observational capacity - at no stage was criminal behaviour encouraged or condoned."All contributors were briefed that if they carried out criminal activity on camera this could result in criminal investigations after broadcast."
West Midlands Police has revealed that is has been "inundated" with comments from people concerned about apparent criminal activity shown on a Channel 4 documentary, last night.
Supt Danny Long, said the force had not been involved in the programme Benefits Street and had not seen the footage until it was broadcast.
Like many people across the country, we saw the footage broadcast on the programme for the first time last night.
Throughout the programme and in the hours that have followed, we have been inundated with comments from members of the public, many of whom are concerned about elements of show.
We are currently assessing whether the content of the programme can assist us as part of any ongoing investigations or indeed whether any new inquiries should be launched in light of the material that has been broadcast.