MEP slams media blackout of the Green Party

Change UK and the Brexit Party seem to be getting a lot of airtime considering they won zero seats in 2014 - compared to the Greens' three...

The Green Party’s South West MEP has complained of a media blackout of the party – with broadcasters feting parties with no seats.

Broadcasters have to abide by rules on impartiality and party balance during regulated election periods.

As of this month, the UK is in an official election period, in anticipation of likely European elections on May 23rd.

Ofcom’s guidance to broadcasters is clear that they should ‘put more weight on evidence of past electoral support than evidence of current support (e.g. opinion polls)’.

However, the new parties Change UK and Brexit Party have received extensive coverage on broadcast media, while many Greens are complaining of a ‘blackout’.

The regulator also states that: “Broadcasters should not give undue prominence to the views and opinions of particular persons or bodies on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy.”

That means the wall-to-wall broadcast coverage – from Rachel Johnson (Change UK) to Ann Widdecombe (Brexit Party) could be in breach of the rules.

Ofcom produce outlines of parties’ electoral support to guide broadcasters’ coverage. A recent ‘digest’ assumes that European elections are not taking place – raising fears that coverage of the current campaign will be a free for all.

When challenged, Ofcom referred Scott Cato to their guidance, saying: “The rules broadcasters must adhere to during election periods can be found on this page. If you have a concern and wish to lodge a complaint with us, you can do so on our website.”

When the Greens went largely ignored during the 2014 European elections, the backlash triggered a ‘Green surge’ that propelled the party forward. Nearly 90,000 signed a petition to the BBC calling for fairer coverage and the party’s membership went from 15,000 to 45,000 in six months.

However, Caroline Lucas appeared on BBC Question Time on Thursday night, while Molly Scott Cato appeared on Sky News’ All Out Politics.

An Ofcom spokesperson told Left Foot Forward:

“Broadcasters are free to make editorial decisions about their programmes but they must ensure they abide by our broadcasting rules. We assess all complaints and programmes against these rules, expediting complaints relating to election coverage as appropriate.”

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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6 Responses to “MEP slams media blackout of the Green Party”

  1. Tom Sacold

    The Greens are just an overgrown single issue protest group, nothing more.

    We need a real socialist party that puts the interests of the British working-class front and centre. The Greens are more interested in destroying industry and jobs than creating them.

  2. Harry Harris

    You know nothing, Tom Sacold. The Green Party has a full manifesto – see if you can find it online. You might even like bits of it, instead of making stuff up that suits your agenda.

  3. Patrick Newman

    Good news. We can complain directly to Ofcom about the continuing bias of R4 Today against the Labour Party as they did in the 2017 election ( remember the Apologists for Terrorists Mail article read out by Humphrys on election eve – conspiracy alert – why did the Mail publish it on election eve, not election day?).

  4. keith Clarke

    All our politicians are either under the control of a capitalist political party of are independent. Like China, it is controlled by capitalism just like every thing else. No matter who we vote in, the flow of money will be the deciding factor. Today, people are being brought, sold, slaughtered or employed by the capitalist machine. If a political party like Labour tell you they are on your side remember they are MP’s and are in there for the fame and fortune, not for your benefit. All our political parties are owned and run by an outside force.

  5. Eric Walker

    To Keith Clarke. Keith would you kindly tell me which ‘outside force’ owns and controls the Green Party?

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