London, October 23, 2023
In a recent ruling, the UK media regulator Ofcom has found GB News in breach of impartiality rules during a broadcast on June 16. The show, hosted by stand-in presenter Martin Daubney, failed to meet the “heightened impartiality requirements” set forth by the regulator. Daubney, a former Brexit Party MEP, was filling in for Laurence Fox during the controversial episode.
During the broadcast, Daubney expressed his views on immigration and asylum policies, particularly in the context of the ongoing controversy surrounding small boats crossing the English Channel. He also conducted an interview with Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform Party. Ofcom stated that Tice’s views were presented “with insufficient challenge,” and the limited alternative perspectives presented were dismissed. Consequently, the program did not include a broad range of significant views, a requirement outlined in the regulatory Code.
In response to the ruling, GB News issued a statement accepting Ofcom’s findings. The news outlet acknowledged that the program did not meet the impartiality guidelines as planned. GB News expressed their intent for Daubney to provide challenging questions to Tice, but admitted that it did not go far enough to comply with Ofcom’s guidelines and their own policies and Editorial Charter. They publicly apologized for the breach of the Code.
This incident comes amidst a series of challenges for GB News. Daubney was standing in for Laurence Fox, who was subsequently dismissed from the network due to comments he made about a female journalist, Ava Evans, during a broadcast on September 26. Fox made a series of personal remarks, leading to his termination. He issued an apology following the incident.
Additionally, Ofcom revealed that they have 12 further investigations open into GB News. The regulator is diligently working to conclude these investigations as quickly as possible.
Ofcom’s ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding impartiality and providing a balanced perspective, especially in discussions related to major political controversies and current public policy. The incident has sparked discussions about media responsibility and the role of regulators in ensuring fair and unbiased reporting in the UK. GB News, along with other media outlets, is expected to heed this ruling in their future programming, as emphasized by Ofcom.