U.K. media regulator Ofcom has revealed that GB News, the new television channel launched earlier this year, has been found to be in breach of impartiality rules. The investigation focused on a specific episode of the “Saturday Morning with Esther and Philip” news program, which featured an interview with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt conducted by Esther McVey and Philip Davies, both Members of Parliament from the ruling Conservative party.
The investigation was launched in response to 45 viewer complaints, which raised concerns about the program’s failure to maintain due impartiality. Ofcom’s findings state that the program predominantly reflected the viewpoints of different strands of opinion within the Conservative Party. It also highlighted the absence of wider perspectives on U.K. economic and fiscal policy, failing to represent politicians, political parties, organizations, or individuals who criticized, opposed, or offered alternative policies to those presented by the three Conservative politicians.
According to Ofcom, there were no clear editorial linkages made between this program and any other content that might have provided differing perspectives. As a result, the investigation concluded that GB News should have taken additional measures to preserve impartiality and failed to represent a wide range of significant views on a matter of major political controversy and current public policy.
This is not the first time that GB News has come under scrutiny for breaching broadcasting rules. In fact, it is the third occasion since the channel’s launch in June this year. Ofcom currently has six additional investigations open into GB News’ compliance with impartiality rules. Two of these investigations involve Esther McVey and Philip Davies, while another two center around Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg.
In addition to its investigation into GB News, Ofcom is also conducting an ongoing inquiry into the “Richard Tice” program on Rupert Murdoch’s Talk TV. The program is hosted by Alex Salmond, leader of the Alba party and former Scottish first minister.
The findings of Ofcom’s investigations are significant, as they highlight the importance of maintaining impartiality in news broadcasting. As the U.K.’s media regulator, Ofcom plays a crucial role in upholding the standards of fairness and accuracy in news reporting. The breaches identified within GB News raise questions about the channel’s commitment to providing a balanced and objective perspective to its viewers.
GB News has not yet responded publicly to Ofcom’s findings. However, it is expected that the channel will be required to take appropriate action to rectify the breaches and ensure future compliance with impartiality rules. As the investigations continue, it remains to be seen how GB News will address these concerns and whether further action will be taken by Ofcom.
For viewers and the general public, the case serves as a reminder of the importance of critical engagement with news sources. As consumers of media, it is crucial to seek out diverse perspectives and consider alternative viewpoints in order to form a well-rounded understanding of the issues at hand. The outcome of Ofcom’s investigations will undoubtedly have implications for the future of GB News and its place within the U.K.’s media landscape.
More detail via Variety here… ( Image via Variety )