Ofcom Puts GB News “On Notice”

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg on GB News

Ofcom put GB News “on notice” on Monday. It announced five breaches of two sections of the Broadcasting Code. They are all related to programmes presented by serving politicians. The regulator said that “any repeated breaches of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction.”

The five breaches occurred twice on “Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation”, twice on “Friday Morning with Esther and Phil,” and once on “Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil”. They all happened between May and June 2023. Per Ofcom:

All five programmes in question contained a mix of news and current affairs content. We found that host politicians acted as newsreaders, news interviewers or news reporters in sequences which clearly constituted news – including reporting breaking news events – without exceptional justification. News was, therefore, not presented with due impartiality.

GB News was cleared for a sixth incident. Ofcom said that, on that occasion, “Rees-Mogg was used as an eye-witness, in situ news reporter during an unforeseen security incident at Buckingham Palace.”,

Pressure on GB New Growing

The upstart news channel has faced significant pressure and investigation over its use of politicians as presenters. Furthermore, this is the strongest warning yet from the regulator. It finally appears to be laying down the law as we head towards a General Election.

Those breaking the Broadcast Code can be hit with various Statutory Sanctions, the most severe of which is revoking a broadcasting licence. However, such a move is highly unlikely. In recent years, it has only happened to Chinese and Russian state broadcasters.

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