Ofcom has ruled GB News breached impartiality rules during a programme presented by former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney, who was standing in for Laurence Fox.
During the broadcast on June 16, Daubney gave his views on immigration and asylum policy in the context of controversy over small boats crossing the English Channel, and also interviewed the leader of the Reform Party, Richard Tice.
On Monday, UK media regulator Ofcom said the programme did not meet the “heightened impartiality requirements”, which apply to programmes discussing “matters of major political controversy and current public policy”.
Update on GB News impartiality cases:-In breach – Martin Daubney standing in for Laurence Fox, 16 June -Complaint assessment – Lee Anderson’s Real World, 29 September -New investigation – Friday Morning with Esther and Philip, 23 June
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) October 23, 2023
It said Mr Tice presented his views on the programme “with insufficient challenge” and the “limited alternative views presented in the programme were dismissed”.
“The programme therefore did not include and give due weight to an appropriately wide range of significant views, as required by the Code,” Ofcom said.
“GB News accepted that the content was not compliant with the heightened special impartiality requirements in the Code.”
It added: “We expect GB News to take careful account of this decision in its compliance of future programming.”
A statement from GB News said: “We accept Ofcom’s finding and agree that our programme did not meet the due impartiality guidelines that our production team had planned.
“Our intent was for Mr Daubney to provide challenging questioning to Mr Tice. Mr Daubney talked of the need for balance and raised the views of people who might object to the strong measures Mr Tice was proposing.
“However, we accept this did not go far enough to meet Ofcom’s guidelines or our own policies and Editorial Charter.
“We apologise for this breach of the Code.”
Daubney, who was also deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, was standing in for presenter Fox, who has since been dismissed following comments he made on air about a female journalist.
The actor-turned-politician made a series of personal remarks about political correspondent Ava Evans, including asking “Who would want to shag that?”, on the Dan Wootton Tonight programme on September 26.
Fox, who apologised following the incident, was sacked by GB News, while an internal investigation into Wootton continues.
Ofcom added that it has “12 further investigations open into GB News, which we are working to conclude as quickly as possible”.