Ofcom launches impartiality probe into Tory MPs' shows on GB News

The media regulator luanched probes into whether the network breached its rules around politicians acting as newsreaders.

Ofcom investigates GB News over impartiality rules on Laurence Fox and Jacob Rees-Mogg shows ITV

Ofcom has launched four more investigations into whether GB News broke its rules around due impartiality.

The media regulator said it will probe whether the channel complied with the part of its Broadcasting Code on politicians acting as newsreaders.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation – aired on June 13 – will be investigated under this rule after it covered a stabbing incident in Nottingham.

Friday Morning with Esther and Phill – which aired on May 12 – will also be probed following a discussion of a teenager being sentenced for terrorist offences.

Ofcom said its investigation will determine whether the programme broke a part of its Broadcasting Code which prevents politicians from acting as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programmes “unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified”.

The two Tory MPs, who are married, face a second investigation into their programme which aired the following day.

That featured 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.

The media watchdog will also assess whether the programme breached a rule requiring news “in whatever form must be presented with due impartiality”.

An episode of Laurence Fox, which was guest presented by former deputy leader of the Reclaim Party Martin Daubney, will also be investigated.

The programme – which aired on 16 June 2023 – included a discussion on the issue of small boats crossing the English Channel and featured an interview with the leader of the political party Reform UK, Richard Tice.

Ofcom has launched half a dozen investigations into the channel since the start of the year.iStock

This episode is being probed in relation to the broadcasting rule which requires 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 media watchdog said.

The announcement comes months after Adam Baxter, director of broadcasting standards at Ofcom, said that the watchdog will be looking at GB News to see if the broadcaster is “behaving itself” following the channel breaching its broadcasting code with Covid claims for the second time.

Ofcom had previously announced an investigation into Davies and McVey’s show in April after the couple interviewed their colleague chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

And in July, Ofcom announced that an episode of State of the Nation hosted by Rees-Mogg would be investigated due to the “politicians as presenters” rule.

The Don’t Kill Cash campaign launched by the network will also be probed.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in