GB News show with Rishi Sunak broke broadcasting rules, Ofcom finds

GB News could face punishment after a programme with Rishi Sunak broke broadcasting rules.

Regulator Ofcom said it was considering a "statutory sanction" after finding 'People's Forum: The Prime Minister' breached impartiality guidelines.

GB News called it "an alarming development" that "strikes at the heart of democracy".

The hour-long show, which aired on 12 February, saw members of the public put questions to the prime minister. However, it received 547 complaints.

Ofcom said in March that five other GB News programmes featuring politicians acting as presenters - including two hosted by Jacob Rees-Mogg - also broke impartiality rules.

The watchdog said the show featuring Mr Sunak was fine in principle, but "due weight" should have been given to an "appropriately wide range of significant views" other than the Tories'.

These should have happened during the programme itself or "in other clearly linked and timely programmes".

It said Mr Sunak "had a mostly uncontested platform to promote the policies and performance of his Government in a period preceding a UK General Election".

"We have therefore recorded a breach of rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code against GB News," it added.

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'Strike at the heart of democracy'

The channel was quick to hit back at the ruling and denied breaking the impartiality rules.

"The regulator's threat to punish a news organisation with sanctions for enabling people to challenge their own prime minister strikes at the heart of democracy at a time when it could not be more vital," it said.

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"Our live programme gave an independently selected group of undecided voters the freedom to challenge the Prime Minister without interference," added the channel.

It said neither producers nor the prime minister had seen the questions beforehand and Mr Sunak was kept "under constant pressure and covered a clearly diverse range of topics".