19 February 2024

GB News programme with Rishi Sunak investigated by Ofcom over impartiality rules

19 February 2024

Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether People’s Forum: The Prime Minister on GB News breached impartiality rules.

The programme, which saw Prime Minister Rishi Sunak take questions from the public in a live Q&A in Co Durham on February 12, has prompted about 500 complaints.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We are investigating under rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code which provide additional due impartiality requirements for programmes dealing with matters of major political controversy and major 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 programmes, or in clearly linked and timely programmes.”

During the broadcast, presenter Stephen Dixon said the questions to be asked by undecided voters had not been seen in advance by the Prime Minister or by GB News.

Downing Street has said Mr Sunak does not regret taking part in the broadcast.

Asked about the watchdog’s actions, his official spokesman told reporters: “No. This is obviously a matter firstly for Ofcom, who’s rightly an independent regulator.

“But obviously, as you’ll see regularly, the Prime Minister undertakes interviews from a range of broadcasters, outlets and other media.

“And media appearances such as the one he conducted last week are an important part of the democratic process.”

GB News is currently being investigated by Ofcom for a number of other shows, including many over impartiality issues.

The issue of political figures such as Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson presenting topical programmes has also been contentious.

Former pensions minister Esther McVey and backbencher Philip Davies have also been part of the GB News line-up, and former culture secretary Nadine Dorries began hosting a programme on TalkTV before she quit as an MP.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy also hosts a show on LBC.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox