Ofcom, the regulatory authority overseeing broadcasting standards, has concluded its investigation into five episodes of GB News programs presented by Conservative Members of Parliament, finding breaches of impartiality rules. The inquiry focused on two programs hosted by former House of Commons leader Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, and three jointly hosted by former Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and her husband, backbencher Philip Davies.

The episodes in question—two from “Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State Of The Nation,” two from “Friday Morning With Esther And Phil,” and one from “Saturday Morning With Esther And Phil”—were aired during May and June 2023. Ofcom determined that these broadcasts failed to adhere to Rules 5.1 and 5.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which require news to be presented with due impartiality. The regulator highlighted that according to the Broadcasting Code, politicians are generally not permitted to serve as news presenters, interviewers, or reporters unless there is a compelling editorial justification. Ofcom concluded that there was no such justification in the investigated cases, resulting in a lack of impartiality in the presentation of news.

Ofcom emphasised the inherent partiality of politicians in society and expressed concerns that the news content presented by them may be perceived as biased by audiences. This, in turn, risks undermining the integrity and credibility of regulated broadcast news.

Although GB News has been found to breach other impartiality codes in the past, this incident marks the first breach of Rules 5.1 and 5.3. Ofcom has cautioned GB News that further breaches could lead to statutory sanctions, such as financial penalties or even the suspension or revocation of its broadcasting license.

In light of these findings, Ofcom has put GB News on notice, indicating that any future breaches of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 will not be tolerated and may result in serious consequences.

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