Ofcom has today found the Mark Steyn show, on GB News, to have been in breach of broadcasting rules. Ofcom’s investigation found Steyn’s show on April 21, 2022 was “potentially harmful and materially misleading”:
“Not because it exercised its editorial freedom to challenge mainstream narratives around Covid-19 vaccination – but because, in doing so, it presented a materially misleading interpretation of official data without sufficient challenge or counterweight, risking harm to viewers.”
Steyn is no longer at GB News, after he quit in protest at executives’ efforts make him liable for potential Ofcom fines.
This marks the first offence for GB News since it launched, as Ofcom adds “the vast majority of complaints made against GB News have not been pursued”. Another Ofcom investigation into Mark Steyn is ongoing…
UPDATE: GB News have released a statement. Read it in full below…
“GB News exists to allow freedom of speech and freedom of thought to flourish. We believe a willingness to debate and disagree is vital for an open and honest society. We are disappointed by Ofcom’s finding. Our role in media is to ask tough questions, point out inconsistencies in government policy, and hold public bodies to account when the facts justify it.
Mark Steyn’s programme did exactly that. We support his right to challenge the status quo by examining the small but evident risks of the third Covid booster. As news stories in the last week have highlighted, it was prescient to question whether the government was candid with all the facts. It is an important story in the public interest.
Mr Steyn looked at evidence from the government’s own health data. He drew a reasonable conclusion from the facts.
However, he drew only one conclusion. We accept that the data offered several valid interpretations, and he should have made this clear. Had he done so, the story would have remained within the wide freedoms that Ofcom’s Broadcast Code allows.
GB News chose to work in a regulated environment, and we take Ofcom compliance seriously. In our 20 months and more than 11,000 hours of live broadcasting, this is Ofcom’s only finding against our television licence. It has not imposed a sanction.
It remains our mission to challenge anyone who adopts a purely binary position on unfolding news events; their assumption that a government’s narrative is the only legitimate version of events, and that everything else is ‘misinformation’.
We are committed to balancing this with the regulatory environment we elected to join. Mark Steyn has left GB News and has not broadcast on the channel for three months.”