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August 7, 2023

Four new GB News Ofcom investigations over Rees-Mogg, McVey, Davies and Daubney

Broadcaster faces four Ofcom investigations over impartiality.

By Dominic Ponsford

GB News is facing four new impartiality investigations from broadcast regulator Ofcom.

The complaints relate to:

Since its launch in June 2021 GB News, which offers mainly right of centre opinion-based programming, has had two Ofcom complaints upheld. Both previous complains related to presenter Mark Steyn’s coverage of Covid-19, and he has since acrimoniously left the channel.

Last month Ofcom said it was opening an investigation into Rees-Mogg’s show on 9 May 2023, which related to him reading out an update on a breaking news story and to the launch of its Don’t Kill Cash campaign.

And in April this year, Ofcom said it was investigating GB News over an 11 March edition of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil which featured an interview with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

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[Read more: Ofcom chief says Tory MPs can present shows on GB News and interview who they like]

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What are the new GB News Ofcom investigations about

Ofcom is now investigating another episode of Friday Morning with Esther and Phil which aired on 12 May 2023. The programme included discussion about a range of issues including a teenager who was being sentenced for terrorism offences. Ofcom will decide whether the programme broke Rule 5.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which “prevents politicians from acting as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programmes unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified”.

The regulator is also looking at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation from 13 June, which covered a stabbing incident in Nottingham and is being investigated under the same rule.

Similarly, Ofcom is looking at a broadcast of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil on 13 May 2023 which featured an interview with Howard Cox – the Reform UK Party’s candidate for the London Mayoral Election – who appeared speaking live from an anti-Ultra Low Emission Zone demonstration. That show is facing an investigation over whether it was presented with “due impartiality”.

The final new investigation relates to an episode of Laurence Fox which aired on 16 June 2023 and was guest presented by Martin Daubney. That broadcast featured a discussion of immigration and asylum policy and featured an interview with the leader of the political party Reform UK, Richard Tice.

Ofcom is investigating whether the programme breached the Broadcasting Code by failing to ensure due impartiality was 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”.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • Head of Department/Function
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  • Retired
  • Other
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