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Ofcom conspires against GB News...

Ofcom believes in free speech unless Ofcom deems it a conspiracy theory

Link Here9th May 2023
Mark Steyn
GB News, 4 October 2022, 8pm - 2am

This programme included an interview between presenter Mark Steyn and a guest, Dr Naomi Wolf. During the interview, Naomi Wolf made serious claims about the Covid-19 vaccine, including that its rollout amounted to a pre-meditated crime – mass murder – and was comparable to the actions of doctors in pre-Nazi Germany .

Ofcom received 422 complaints that alleged these comments were dangerous and included misinformation that went unopposed.

Ofcom investigated under Rule 2.1 of the Code which states that

Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services…so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

We took into account that Naomi Wolf was presented as a figure of authority, with particular knowledge and expertise in the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines. We considered that this would have lent greater credibility to her claims that amounted to the promotion of a serious, unchallenged conspiracy theory. We were particularly concerned about the significant and alarming claim that mass murder was taking place through the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccinations. We found that comments made by Naomi Wolf had the potential to impact on viewers’ decisions about their health and were therefore potentially harmful.

We were concerned that Naomi Wolf was given the opportunity to present her claims without challenge or other contextualisation, for example through other contributions in the programme or by the presenter who appeared to support many of her comments. There was also no scrutiny of the evidence she claimed to hold to support her claims. We concluded that the programme did not provide adequate protection to viewers from the potentially harmful content, in breach of Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom has made clear that, in line with the right to freedom of expression, broadcasters are free to transmit programmes that include controversial and challenging views about any topic, including Covid-19 vaccines or conspiracy theories. ...HOWEVER..., alongside this editorial freedom, the Code imposes a clear requirement that if the broadcast of any content – an unchallenged conspiracy theory, in this case – has the potential to be harmful, the broadcaster must ensure that its audience is adequately protected.

This breach of Rule 2.1 of the Code follows another recent breach also involving potential harm to viewers (under Rule 2.2). Ofcom is requesting that GB News Ltd attends a meeting to discuss its compliance approach in light of these two significant Code breaches.

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