The regulator launched an investigation after complaints from viewers who said the presenter had made “dangerous” and “fatally flawed conclusions”.
GB News has been found to be in breach of Ofcom regulations, after presenter Mark Steyn made “potentially harmful and materially misleading” claims about Covid-19 vaccines, the regulator has said.
The broadcasting rules were broken last April, when Steyn made comments about the Covid-19 booster jabs, claiming that data showed significantly greater risk” of “infection, hospitalisation and death”, from the third jab.
Ofcom said that the conclusions drawn by Steyn were wrong and “may have resulted in viewers making important decisions about their own health”. The regulator launched an investigation after complaints from viewers who said the presenter had made “dangerous” and “fatally flawed conclusions”.
Steyn based his conclusions on data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to compare people who had the booster with those who had only received the first two vaccinations.
“His interpretation that there was ‘only one conclusion’ from this comparison… was misleading because it did not take account of key factors such as the significant differences in age or health of the people in these two groups,” Ofcom said.
“The programme also failed to reflect that the UKHSA reports made clear that the raw data should not be used to draw conclusions about vaccine efficacy, due to the biases inherent in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.”
Ofcom added: “Overall, we concluded that this factual programme may have resulted in viewers making important decisions about their health, and it was therefore potentially harmful and materially misleading,” the regulator said of the breach.
Responding to GB News’ Ofcom breach, the organisation Fullfact which previously highlighted the inaccurate nature of Steyn’s comments, said it hoped GB News would now set the record straight.
Glen Tarman, Head of Policy at Full Fact, said: “GB News’ viewers deserve information they can trust. Full Fact has repeatedly contacted GB News about unsubstantiated or false claims made on their programmes without receiving a response.
“Every broadcaster should be prepared to get their facts right, back up what they say with evidence, and correct the record when they get things wrong.
“We hope GB News will correct the record in light of Ofcom’s findings today.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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