GB News in breach of Ofcom’s impartiality rules over interview with Chancellor

UK media regulator Ofcom has found controversial UK broadcaster GB News in breach of its impartiality rules following an interview with Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP on Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, aired earlier this year.

On March 11, the weekly talk show fronted by Conservative MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies featured an interview between the pair and Hunt, focused on the Government’s approach to economic and fiscal policies ahead of the Spring Budget, which was announced four days later.

The segment on the right-wing channel garnered 45 complaints from viewers who raised concerns pertaining to impartiality.

Following an investigation by the media watchdog, it found the broadcaster had breached Ofcom Rules’ 5.11 and 5.12 that “requires an appropriately wide range of significant views” in such programmes and “must be included and given due weight or in clearly linked and timely programmes.”

The episode was deemed to be “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.

Ofcom also noted there were no clear, editorial linkages made in the talk show format to any other content which might have contained these views.

“GB News failed to represent and give due weight to an appropriately wide range of significant views on a matter of major political controversy and current public policy within this programme,” they added.

This marks GB News’ third breach of Ofcom broadcasting rules since it launch in 2021, with another six open investigations into the channel – two of which will look into programmes presented by McVey and Davies.

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