Ofcom to probe Fox / GB News
September 29, 2023
UK’s Ofcom has succumbed to pressure to launch an investigation into ‘news channel’ GB News and its Dan Wootton Tonight show, on which another GB News presenter, Laurence Fox, made insulting remarks about journalist Ava Evans..
The regulator received 7,300 complaints from viewers about the show, and GB News subsequently suspended both Fox and Wootton.
Ofcom said that it was now investigating GB News under Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code which states that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.
“Over the last few days there has been speculation and commentary about our role as the independent broadcast regulator. These are important issues and I wanted to be clear about our rules. Parliament sets objectives on how the broadcast sector should be regulated. We set and enforce rules to achieve these objectives,” said Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s CEO, in a statement in response.
“Contrary to some claims, these rules remain unchanged. They are designed to protect audiences from offensive and harmful material, and to uphold the integrity of broadcast news and current affairs programming, while always ensuring that freedom of expression is front and centre in every decision we take. This is highly valued by audiences and central to our democracy. The decisions we take, always based on facts and evidence once a programme has aired , are vital if we are to protect our vibrant media landscape. We continue to apply and enforce these rules without fear or favour,” she added.