Challenges of Impartiality: Ofcom’s Inquiry into Rishi Sunak’s GB News Interview

credit: bbc

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Ofcom has launched an investigation of Rishi Sunak’s recent appearance on GB News. Prime Minister‘s hour-long ‘grilling’ on GB News is the conservative network’s most delinquent to be investigated by Ofcom.

The Office of Communications, generally known as Ofcom, is the government-authorized regulatory and competition regime for the broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal enterprises of the United Kingdom. Ofcom has wide-ranging controls across the television, radio, telecom, and postal sectors.

The regulator stated that the Prime Minister drew more than 500 complaints today. Sunak responded to questions from an audience on various topics before the show cut back to the studio, and a Conservative lawmaker was questioned for his “verdict.” No alternative viewpoints were pursued throughout the show.

Ofcom said this morning that People’s Forum is being scrutinized under Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of its Broadcasting Code, “which equip additional due impartiality conditions for programs dealing with matters of significant political controversy and significant matters relating to current public policy.”

“Specifically, Rules 5.11 and 5.12 require that an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in such programs, or in clearly linked and timely programs,” it added.

The “due impartiality” requirement in current affairs output does not imply that the same amount of time needs to be given to differing views. However, audiences need to be exposed to alternative ways of thinking.

The move indicates that GB News will continue falling foul of the Broadcasting Code as we enter 2024. Ofcom is also investigating GB News for about a dozen other shows, including many over neutrality issues and the issue of political figures presenting topical programs.

Deadline disclosed last month that Ofcom has postponed publishing research on politicians presenting news shows until the UK media regulator has reached critical rulings on GB News.

Mr Sunak was also grilled by a GB News audience over tax cuts, the NHS, and his Rwanda project. He demanded that he “understood” the public’s frustration with some issues after 14 years of Conservative Government.

During the event, he was pushed on NHS backlogs and was forced to defend his flagship Rwanda policy. Mr. Sunak was asked by one voter why he was sticking to the Rwanda plan “when public documentation shows it isn’t working and that it’s not going to work.”

He answered: “To fully solve this problem, we need a deterrent. We need to be able to say pretty simply and unequivocally that if you come to our country illegally, you won’t get to stay.

“We want to be able to remove you either to your home country if it’s safe like we’ve done with Albania, and for everyone else, we need an alternative, and that’s what Rwanda is about.

“I’m committed to getting this bill through parliament and getting this scheme up and running.”

Read More: Rishi Sunak Urged to Enact Stricter Rules: Sexual Offenders Barred from MP Candidacy Ahead of Next Election

During the show, Mr Sunak blamed the pandemic for the NHS backlog.

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.