OFCOM LAUNCHES FOUR NEW INVESTIGATIONS INTO GB NEWS IMPARTIALITY
Ofcom has today opened four further investigations into GB News’s compliance with the organisation's due impartiality rules.
The first investigation concerns an episode of Friday Morning with Esther and Phil, which aired on 12 May 2023. During the programme, there was discussion about a range of issues including relating to a teenager who was being sentenced for terrorism offences.
The investigation will determine whether the programme broke Rule 5.3 of the Broadcasting Code. This prevents politicians from acting as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programmes unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified.
Ofcom are also investigating two other programmes under the ‘politicians as presenters’ rule – Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation, 13 June 2023, which covered a stabbing incident in Nottingham, and Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, 13 May 2023, featuring an interview with Howard Cox – the Reform UK Party’s candidate for the London Mayoral Election – speaking live from an anti-Ultra Low Emission Zone demonstration.
Ofcom are also assessing the latter programme’s compliance with Rule 5.1 of the Broadcasting Code which requires that news, in whatever form, must be presented with due impartiality.
Finally, Ofcom are investigating an episode of Laurence Fox which aired on 16 June 2023,which was guest presented by Martin Daubney in Laurence Fox’s absence. It included a discussion about immigration and asylum policy, particularly in relation to the issue of small boats crossing the English Channel, and featured an interview with the leader of the political party Reform UK, Richard Tice.
Specifically, Ofcom are investigating this programme under Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code which require that due impartiality is preserved on matters of major political or industrial controversy, or those relating to current public policy, and that an appropriately wide range of significant views are included and given due weight.
The additional four investigations above mean Ofcom are currently investigating a total of seven issues against GB News.