Ofcom Sanctions Procedure against GB News for Rishi Sunak ‘Public Forum’

Ofcom has initiated proceedings to sanction GB News following a “serious and repeated” breach of the rules in the People’s Forum programme in which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak answered questions from viewers live on air.

Ofcom’s statement said that GB News had failed to maintain impartiality, that the right-leaning news network had repeatedly breached the rules and that Sunak had been given an uncontested platform to promote his government’s policies and performance in this instance.

On The People’s Forum, Sunak was questioned live by viewers about the government’s policies and performance in the context of the upcoming UK general election.

The programme was immediately criticised for being one-sided and Ofcom received more than 500 complaints. “While some questions from viewers raised some challenges and criticisms of the Government’s policies and performance, viewers failed to challenge the Prime Minister’s answers and the presenter failed to do so to any meaningful extent,” Ofcom said: “The Prime Minister was able to set out some of the future policies his government plans to implement if re-elected in the UK General Election. Neither the audience nor the presenter challenged or otherwise referred to significant alternative views on these policies.”

GB News’ response was that they “strongly believe” that the current affairs programme followed the rules. GB News considered that the rules were complied with because of the important public policy issues discussed, GB News said that the Public Forum was a series of programmes designed for a direct purpose, allowing members of the public to put their own questions directly to leading politicians, including the Prime Minister, live on air.

Ofcom’s action against GB News is a rare procedure.

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