Petition launched to revoke GB News’ licence

A ‘new low for our UK media that puts our democracy at risk if our news standards slide’.

Rishi Sunak Prime Minister on GB News

A petition has been started to revoke GB News’ licence after its multiple breaches of impartiality guidelines, with demands for Ofcom to hold the channel to account.

GB News has faced a number of investigations over breaches of impartiality and fairness, with the channel currently subject to 13 separate investigations.

The petition, hosted on 38 Degrees, highlights how Ofcom has already found GB News guilty of breaking the rules five times previously and demands stronger regulation from the media regulator, claiming that it is a ‘new low for our UK media that puts our democracy at risk if our news standards slide’.

The latest petition comes after Ofcom announced that it was launching a new investigation into the right-wing channel after complaints were received over an alleged breach of impartiality rules following an episode of the People’s Forum: The Prime Minister on GB News, which saw Rishi Sunak take questions from the public in a live Q&A in Co Durham on February 12.

Ofcom said in a statement: “Ofcom has launched an investigation into People’s Forum: The Prime Minister on GB News under our due impartiality rules.

“We have received around 500 complaints about the programme which aired on GB News on 12 February 2024.”

In September, GB News was found to have breached impartiality rules by airing an interview with UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt that was conducted by two other Conservative MPs.

Esther McVey, a former pensions minister, and her husband Philip Davies, a longstanding MP, were accused of hosting a “love-in” interview with Jeremy Hunt on 11 March for their weekly morning show on the channel.

In December, an Ofcom investigation found that GB News broke due impartiality rules during a summer episode in promoting a campaign called ‘Don’t Kill Cash’. The programme, Ofcom found, “failed to preserve due impartiality in its coverage of this matter, with only limited references to different perspectives.”

Ofcom said GB News “clearly endorsed the campaign” across its programming, including with a QR code that encouraged audiences to sign a petition.

The latest petition on 38 Degrees states: “It’s time to clamp down hard on GB News and revoke their licence to broadcast.

“This is isn’t about censorship, it’s about making sure our news stays impartial.

“We don’t have to agree with everything GB News does or says, but we should expect all news outlets to follow the rules. Ofcom needs to hold all channels to a high standard and punish those that break the rules.”

You can find a link to the petition here.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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