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Ofcom: Fresh GB News, Talk TV probes

July 3, 2023

By Colin Mann

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom is opening two new broadcast standards investigations.

The first will look at whether an episode of State of the Nation on GB News which aired on May 9th, complied with its rules.

Ofcom received 40 complaints about this programme, presented by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, which covered a breaking news story about a civil trial verdict involving former US President Donald Trump. The investigation will look at the programme’s compliance with its rules which prevent politicians from acting as newsreaders in any news programmes, unless exceptionally, it is editorially justified.

The second will investigate whether Richard Tice on Talk TV, presented by Alex Salmond on April 2nd, broke Ofcom’s rules requiring news and current affairs to be presented with due impartiality.

Ofcom received two complaints about this programme, specifically in relation to a discussion on the SNP.

Ofcom’s investigation into Saturday Morning with Esther and Philip broadcast on GB News on March 11th 2023, remains ongoing. This also relates to the rules outlined above.

Ofcom is asking what people think about politicians presenting programmes.

“Viewers and listeners are at the centre of what we do,” says Ofcom. “So, to ensure our broadcasting rules remain relevant and effective, it’s important for us to understand first-hand what people think and feel about the TV and radio content they consume, and how perspectives might change over time. As such, we regularly carry out research into how audiences feel about different types of content they may come across on TV and radio.”

The rules around politicians presenting programmes were first introduced in 2005. “Given the rise in the number of current affairs programmes presented by sitting politicians and recent public interest in this issue, we are conducting new research to gauge current audience attitudes towards these programmes,” says Ofcom. This will be carried out by an expert research agency and Ofcom aims to publish the findings later in 2023.

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