03 July 2023

Ofcom launches investigation into Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg’s GB News show

03 July 2023

Ofcom has launched a new broadcast standards investigation into an episode of Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg’s GB News show which addressed a court case involving Donald Trump.

The media watchdog has said it received 40 complaints objecting to the MP for North East Somerset acting as a newsreader during his State Of The Nation show on May 9 as politicians are prevented from this role unless it is “editorially justified”.

The investigation will look at whether the GB News programme abided by these guidelines when it reported on a civil trial verdict reached that day on the former US president.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We are investigating whether this programme broke our rules, which prevent politicians from acting as newsreaders, unless exceptionally, it is editorially justified.”

The regulator will also investigate an episode of Talk TV’s Richard Tice presented by the leader of the Alba Party Alex Salmond on April 2.

Ofcom has said it received two complaints regarding the impartiality of the programme, specifically in relation to a discussion on whether the SNP was “holding back the course of independence”.

A spokesperson said: “We are investigating whether this programme broke our rules requiring news and current affairs to be presented with due impartiality.”

The media regulator added that it is still investigating an edition of GB News’ Saturday Morning With Esther And Philip broadcast on March 11 which stars the husband-and-wife duo (Esther McVey and Philip Davies) who are both serving MPs.

The Ofcom rules surrounding politicians presenting programmes were first introduced in 2005.

The media watchdog has said that they are conducting new research to “gauge current audience attitudes” into current affairs programmes presented by sitting politicians given the rise in the format.

This report will be carried out by an research agency and Ofcom aim to publish the findings later this year.

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