An Ofcom investigation has today found the Mark Steyn programme, which first aired on GB News on 4 October 2022, in breach of the broadcasting rules. This is the second time the 'news channel' has been found to have breached the rules.
The programme included an interview between presenter, Mark Steyn, and a guest, Dr Naomi Wolf. During the interview, Naomi Wolf made serious claims about the Covid-19 vaccine, including that its rollout amounted to a pre-meditated crime – “mass murder” – and was comparable to the actions of “doctors in pre-Nazi Germany”.
Ofcom received 422 complaints that alleged these comments were “dangerous” and included “misinformation” that went “unopposed”. They say: "It is important to stress that in line with the right to freedom of expression - broadcasters are free to transmit programmes that include controversial and challenging views, including about Covid-19 vaccines or conspiracy theories...
"However, alongside this editorial freedom, the Broadcasting Code imposes a clear requirement that if such content has the potential to be harmful, the broadcaster must ensure that its audience is adequately protected.
They continued: "Our investigation concluded that GB News fell short of this requirement by allowing Naomi Wolf to promote a serious conspiracy theory without challenge or context - for example through other contributions in the programme or by the presenter, who appeared to support many of her comments. There was also no scrutiny of the evidence she claimed to hold to support her claims."
This is the second significant breach of the Code recorded against GB News. In light of this, Ofcom are requesting that GB News attends a meeting with Ofcom to discuss its approach to compliance.
Ofcom's full report can be found here.