Media regulator Ofcom has launched four new investigations into GB News following complaints that the channel broke impartiality rules.
Three episodes of shows hosted by Conservative MPs are among those being investigated under Ofcom rules that politicians should not act as news presenters “unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified.”
Programmes hosted by Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured), West Yorkshire MP Philip Davies and his Cheshire MP wife and co-presenter Esther McVey are among those being examined.
It takes the number of Ofcom investigations currently active into GB News to seven.
Fans of GB News’ US-style take on news as opinion have argued that programmes hosted by politicians do not break the rules because they should be classed as ‘current affairs’ rather than news, and in June Ofcom commissioned research into public attitudes towards such programmes to decide whether the rules should change.
The latest shows under investigation under the rules include June 13’s episode of Rees-Mogg’s show State of the Nation, which covered a stabbing in Nottingham.
Ofcom is also investigating two episodes of the Morning with Esther and Phil show. The Friday May 12 episode featured issues including a teenager who was being sentenced for terrorism offences, while the following day’s Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil is also being investigated, both under the politicians as presenters rule and another rule that says news must be presented with due impartiality.
That episode featured an interview with Howard Cox – the Reform UK Party’s candidate for the London mayoral election – who was speaking live from an anti-Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) demonstration.
Finally, Ofcom is investigating an episode of Laurence Fox’s programme from 16 June, when it was being guest-presented by Martin Daubney. That show featured an interview with Reform UK leader Richard Tice, a former Brexit Party MEP, and included a discussion about immigration and asylum policy.
The regulator said it was looking into whether the programme broke rules requiring due impartiality to be “preserved on matters of major political or industrial controversy, or those relating to current public policy, and that an appropriately wide range of significant views are included and given due weight.”
The three Ofcom investigations into the channel which were already ongoing include another episode each of ReesMogg’s and Davies and McVey’s programmes, and the channel’s Don’t Kill Cash campaign.
How concerned GB News may be about the investigations is probably up for debate. Discussing the earlier complaint over the Rees-Mogg show’s coverage of the Donald Trump court case on the channel, GB News host Nick Dixon – not to be confused with the Scottish GMTV and Good Morning Britain correspondent who shares his name – described the 40 complainants as “probably mental.”
GB News, which is based in London’s Riverbank House with commercial operations headquartered in Manchester, declined to comment “on any investigation while it’s ongoing” when approached by Prolific North.