Ofcom orders meeting with GB News following second broadcasting code breach

UK media regulator Ofcom has ordered a meeting with the right-wing news channel GB News following a breach of its broadcasting code on the Mark Steyn programme.

The watchdog found comments made during an interview with Naomi Wolf about the Covid-19 vaccine was in violation of its broadcasting rules, including that its rollout amounted to a“mass murder” and was comparable to the actions of “doctors in pre-Nazi Germany”. Ofcom received more than 400 complaints about the segment with viewers describing it as “dangerous” and “misinformation”.

Ofcom said, “It is important to stress that in line with the right to freedom of expression – broadcasters are free to transmit programmes that include controversial and challenging views, including about Covid-19 vaccines or conspiracy theories. However, alongside this editorial freedom, the Broadcasting Code imposes a clear requirement that if such content has the potential to be harmful, the broadcaster must ensure that its audience is adequately protected.”

“Our investigation concluded that GB News fell short of this requirement by allowing Naomi Wolf to promote a serious conspiracy theory without challenge or context – for example through other contributions in the programme or by the presenter, who appeared to support many of her comments. There was also no scrutiny of the evidence she claimed to hold to support her claims.”

This marks the second significant breach of the code against GB News following incorrect claims on the same Mark Steyn programme that the official UK Health Security Agency data provided definitive evidence of a causal link between receiving a third COVID-19 vaccination and higher infection, hospitalisation and death rates.

As of result of both breaches, GB News is to attend a meeting with Ofcom to discuss its approach to compliance.

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