GB News has been ruled against again by regulators. Some of the controversial channel’s curious output is increasingly attracting scrutiny from Ofcom, which in its latest ruling says the broadcaster was in breach of due impartiality rules back in March. 

It was not one of “Anglo-Catholic Deacon” Calvin Robinson’s anti-abortion monologues or Neil Oliver’s accusations that Big Pharma has poisoned us all that caused the trouble. Instead, it was an interview with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt on Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil which broke the rules. 

The show is hosted by two sitting Conservative MPs, Esther McVey and Phillip Davies. Ofcom received 45 complaints about the interview and states that the show did not broadcast a variety of opinions on a “matter of major political controversy and current public policy”. 

When dealing with such matters, Ofcom states that “the heightened special impartiality requirements apply” and “the programme was 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.”

In essence, you can’t have Tory MPs interviewing Tory MPs on a TV news channel and not expect to fall foul of impartiality rules at some point.

GB News, in its usual robust fashion, hit back. In a statement, the broadcaster said it was “disappointed” with Ofcom’s ruling and said that “the regulator’s definition of due impartiality is imprecise.”

The statement continued: “We note that Ofcom acknowledges that our programme was current affairs, not news, and that it did not breach any rules relating to politicians presenting news programmes. Our programme featured a range of views from our audience, and from two business owners who offered different perspectives on how the issues would affect them.”

This is the third time GB News has been found to have breached Ofcom’s rules and there are a further six open investigations into the channel’s compliance with impartiality rules. 

What will surely worry the investors in GB News is that this trend is likely to accelerate under a Labour government. The scrutiny will only increase. Ofcom is independent, but a Labour culture secretary is not going to be shy about prodding the regulator to get tougher and tougher on GB News.

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