U.K.’s GB News Found in Breach of Impartiality Rules by Media Regulator Over Show Hosted by Politicians

U.K. media regulator Ofcom’s broadcast standards investigation into GB News has found the channel to be in breach of its impartiality rules.

The issue of politicians who also serve as newsreaders being in potential breach of Ofcom’s impartiality rules has cropped up in recent months. In April, Ofcom launched an investigation into GB News over an interview given by chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt to Esther McVey and Philip Davies on March 11 on the “Saturday Morning with Esther and Philip” news program about the upcoming budget. All three politicians are members of parliament representing the ruling Conservative party.

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Ofcom received 45 complaints from viewers who raised concerns that the program had failed to preserve due impartiality.

The investigation found that “the program was overwhelmingly reflective of the viewpoints of different strands of opinion within the Conservative Party. There were only very limited references to wider perspectives on U.K. economic and fiscal policy in the context of the forthcoming budget. For example, no real attention was given anywhere in the program to the viewpoints of politicians, political parties, organisations or individuals that either, for example, criticised, opposed or put forward policy alternatives to the viewpoints given by the three Conservative politicians. In addition, there were no clear, editorial linkages made in this program to any other content which might have contained these views.”

“GB News should have taken additional steps to ensure that due impartiality was preserved” and “failed to represent and give due weight to an appropriately wide range of significant views on a matter of major political controversy and current public policy within this program,” the investigation concluded.

This is the third breach of Ofcom’s broadcasting rules recorded against GB News since it launched in June 2021. The body has six further investigations open into the channel’s compliance with its due impartiality rules, including two more featuring Esther McVey and Philip Davies and two with another Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Ofcom also has an ongoing investigation on the “Richard Tice” program on Rupert Murdoch’s Talk TV, presented by Alba party leader and former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond.

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