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Ofcom issue warning to broadcasters who use politicians as presenters in election programming

GB News / Talk TV

Ofcom issue warning to broadcasters who use politicians as presenters in election programming

With a General Election due to take place before 25 January 2025, the broadcasting regulator has sounded a warning to broadcasters…

Ofcom note that channels such as GB News and Talk TV need to maintain the highest level of due impartiality, in line with their enhanced rules that apply during election periods. Any breaches of election programming rules are likely to be serious and to result in Ofcom considering the imposition of statutory sanctions.

In particular, broadcasters are reminded that Rule 6.6 of the Code prohibits candidates in UK elections from acting as news presenters, interviewers or presenters of any type of programme during the election period. Politicians who are not standing as candidates in a UK election can present non-news programmes – including current affairs – during election periods, provided that programme complies with all relevant Code rules.

Ofcom notes that they expect all broadcasters who use politicians as presenters to pay particular attention to the new audience research findings, and the broadcasting regulator’s updated guidance to inform their editorial decision-making and help ensure programmes are compliant.

“In light of these publications, we are likely to view breaches of the due impartiality rules in election programming presented by non-standing politicians as serious, and we may consider imposing statutory sanctions.”Ofcom

Ofcom’s Election Committee will expedite the assessment and investigation of any election programming that attracts complaints, or that the organisation identify as potentially problematic. Any breaches of election programming rules are likely to be serious and result in Ofcom considering the imposition of statutory sanctions they today noted.

Cristina Nicolotti Squires, Ofcom’s Broadcasting and Media Group Director:

“As we approach the local elections and edge ever nearer to a General Election, we’re also sending a clear warning to broadcasters – and particularly those that use politicians as presenters – that nothing short of the highest standards of compliance with the heightened impartiality rules during this period will be acceptable. Should any broadcaster fall short, we’ll move swiftly to enforce those rules.”

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