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An Ofcom investigation has concluded that a programme presented by Martin Daubney (standing in for Laurence Fox), which aired on GB News on 16 June 2023, breached due impartiality rules.

Ofcom received a complaint about this weekly topical debate programme, which on this occasion was presented by Martin Daubney, a former Brexit Party MEP and former deputy leader of the Reclaim Party.

During the programme Martin Daubney gave his views on the topic of immigration and asylum policy, in the context of controversy over small boats crossing the English Channel. He also interviewed the leader of the Reform Party, Richard Tice.

Ofcom's decision: "Given this programme featured in-depth discussion about immigration and asylum policy – a matter of major political controversy and current public policy – we consider that GB News should have taken additional steps to ensure that due impartiality was preserved.

Our investigation found Mr Tice presented his views on immigration and asylum policy with insufficient challenge, and the limited alternative views presented in the programme were dismissed...

"The programme therefore did not include and give due weight to an appropriately wide range of significant views, as required by the Code...

GB News accepted that the content was not compliant with the heightened special impartiality requirements in the Code. We expect GB News to take careful account of this decision in its compliance of future programming."

Ofcom has also justified why it will not be investigating Lee Andeerson's interview with Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Anderson's GB News programme.

They say: "Politicians are allowed to present current affairs programmes under our rules, providing they aren’t standing for election and that due impartiality is preserved. Having assessed the nature and format of the programme – which included the combination of a pre-recorded interview, in-depth studio analysis and panel discussion – we were satisfied it was a current affairs programme...

"At the time of broadcast, neither Lee Anderson or Suella Braverman was standing in an election taking place, or about to take place. We therefore concluded that the programme did not raise issues under Rule 5.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which sets out the restriction on politicians presenting news programmes."

Last month, an Ofcom investigation has today concluded that an episode of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, which aired on GB News on 11 March 2023, breached due impartiality rules.

This particular programme featured a pre-recorded interview between the two presenters and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP. The interview focused on the Government’s approach to economic and fiscal policies ahead of the Spring Budget, which was announced four days later.

Ofcom say: "Our investigation found, that in discussing these matters, the programme 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 UK economic and fiscal policy in the context of the forthcoming budget. For example, no real attention was given anywhere in the programme 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 programme to any other content which might have contained these views.

Given this programme featured two sitting MP presenters from one political party interviewing the Chancellor of the same political party about a matter of major political controversy and current public policy, we consider, in these circumstances, that GB News should have taken additional steps to ensure that due impartiality was preserved."

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


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