Ofcom Report Slams BBC for Failing to Address Impartiality Concerns

Ofcom has released a midterm report of the BBC, reviewing its approach to complaints and public perceptions of its impartiality. The report slams the broadcaster for failing to uphold its complaints procedure, demanding it “change[s] its policy and publish sufficient reasoning in cases where it decides not to uphold due impartiality and due accuracy complaints”, and warning that public trust in its impartiality had declined dramatically in recent years. As Guido reported on Monday, new figures show that public distrust in the BBC has fallen by 20 points in the last five years… 

According to Ofcom’s own figures, 11% of adults had cause to complain about the BBC in the last year, with ITV at 6%, and Channel 4 at 4%. Of that figure, most didn’t have confidence their complaints would be upheld or taken seriously. Why would they? Time and again, the BBC’s top stars clearly breach social media impartiality rules and, at worst, face a warning and slap on the wrist. A few months later, they do it again…

Ofcom chief Dame Melanie Dawes didn’t mince her words:

“Viewers and listeners tell us they aren’t happy with how the BBC handles their complaints, and it clearly needs to address widespread perceptions about its impartiality. So we’re directing it to respond to these concerns, by being much more transparent and open with its audiences. The BBC must also adapt quickly to keep up with changes in what audiences want, and how they get their content.”

The review also warns the BBC to get its act together quickly, or it will recommend the government gets involved:

“We are also expecting the BBC to alert us at an early stage to potential serious editorial breaches… If the BBC fails to do this, we will recommend that the Government makes this a legal requirement.”

One of the major proposed changes is an updated Operating Licence with a far greater emphasis on transparency. The full review is expected early next year…

mdi-timer 22 June 2022 @ 16:13 22 Jun 2022 @ 16:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LBC Broke Ofcom Impartiality Rules with “Jewish Embassy” Report

Ofcom have ruled that LBC breached the body’s impartiality rules during a broadcast outside the Israeli Embassy in London last year. Back in May 2021, during protests prompted by airstrikes against Gaza, LBC’s reporter repeatedly described the Israeli Embassy as the “Jewish Embassy“. They repeated the claim nine times across three news items…

Now, following an investigation, Ofcom have slammed the broadcaster for the clear breach – particularly for conflating Israeli national identity with Jewish identity:

We considered that listeners, especially Jewish people and those concerned by this rise in antisemitism in London at the time of the report, may have found the conflation particularly offensive.

LBC attempted to dismiss the claim by insisting the reporter was working in a high-stress environment, and had simply “tripped over his words in error during the heat of the moment.” Ofcom didn’t buy it:

“We took into account the Licensee’s explanation of the circumstances, in that the reporter was “reporting live from a high-stress and tense environment”.

We recognise that broadcasting in a challenging live situation may provide some mitigation for an inaccuracy during a live report and that there is clearly a high public interest in journalists reporting live from situations such as these.

However, we did not think in the circumstances of this case that this provided sufficient mitigation for the inaccuracy, which had been originally broadcast live in the 16:06 programme, to have been repeated in two further broadcasts, as a pre-recorded news piece when those mitigating circumstances did not apply, and without correction or context being provided.”

Ofcom ruled that while the breach didn’t constitute antisemitism, LBC’s corrective measures were “insufficient to mitigate the potential offence or justify the broadcast of the potentially offensive content in this programme.” Given there was no attempt to correct the reporter, and the package was rebroadcast multiple times, it was obvious their excuse just wouldn’t cut it…

Internally, it doesn’t look like LBC are keen to impress the gravity of all this on their staff. Guido spoke to an LBC source who claimed not to have “heard a peep” about the decision, and they’d only found out about the ruling by Googling it

Read the full ruling below:Read More

mdi-timer 17 June 2022 @ 13:15 17 Jun 2022 @ 13:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Piers Morgan’s ‘Offence’ Schtick Flops

With a £4 million marketing spend for the launch of TalkTV it’s impossible to walk around without seeing Morgan’s face on a giant billboard, phone box or the side of a bus, with one of the most common adverts implying the show’s so offensive to ‘snowflakes’ it merely features Piers pointing to News UK’s complaints department address. While we can’t know how many complaints News UK has received, we can get a pretty good idea by looking at the public figures from Ofcom. It turns out it’s difficult to get many complaints if no one’s tuning in…

Their most recent weekly audience report covered April 26th to May 2nd – Piers’s launch week when he had six-figure viewing numbers. According to the quango’s stats, his show failed to breach the 50 complaints threshold to warrant publication. Gogglebox did, on the other hand, with 68 complaints. Wider channel statistics show GB News registered 459 complaints in the latest update, whereas TalkTV managed a whopping five across its entire week’s output. Piers has fallen a long way since his days of raking in 55,000 complaints off the back of one TV appearance…

Last night Nigel Farage on GB News got twice as many viewers as Pier Morgan on TalkTV. The GB News primetime slots overall have 4 times the audience share of TalkTV…

mdi-timer 12 May 2022 @ 10:06 12 May 2022 @ 10:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ofcom CEO: Exercising Putin-Style Powers Will See Staff Increase By 50%

According to Melanie Dawes, the newly-appointed CEO of Ofcom, the quango will increase headcount by 400 staff ahead of new powers to police the internet in the Online Safety Bill, which will be voted on in Parliament after Easter,. That’s a lot of censors…

Ofcom will have Putin-style powers to block websites from being seen in the UK if those sites fail to uphold their new legal duty of care to remove “harmful content”. The definition of “harmful content”, of course, will be a political question. Will questioning hurtling towards net-zero whilst millions are in energy poverty be deemed harmful content? Guido gets hate mail from eco-extremists claiming we are responsible for “ecocide” and a “climate apocalypse” for doing so.  Will objecting to people with penises using girls’ changing rooms, which is apparently “transphobic hate”, be deemed harmful content? Nadine Dorries might not think this is harmful content, will a future Labour Party culture minister think the same? 

Ofcom’s Melanie Dawes told Times Radio

“We’ve got some tough and strong tools in our toolkit as a result of this legislation. And I think we need those. These very strict and somewhat draconian kinds of sanctions are really only the sort of thing that you would expect to use as a serious last resort.

If you don’t accept self-censorship and comply, your website will be blocked. Chilling.
mdi-timer 4 April 2022 @ 09:40 4 Apr 2022 @ 09:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ofcom Chair Nominee Michael Grade Spells Out Anti-Woke Credentials

FBPEers, brace yourself: former BBC chief and current Ofcom chair nominee Lord Grade used a select committee appearance this morning to profess he “admires the courage” of actor-turned-politico Laurence Fox for speaking out on political issues. Appearing in front of the DCMS Committee following his nomination, Grade expressed his admiration for Fox’s anti-woke campaigning, albeit with the inevitable caveat that he doesn’t “necessarily agree with [it]”. The SNP’s John Nicolson was predictably aghast…

Grade: “I admire his courage in speaking out, and contributing to the debate. I don’t necessarily agree with what he says, but I admire his courage in speaking out.”

Nicolson: “I find it depressing that you think Laurence Fox is a voice for us, he’s certainly not a voice for me, I don’t think he’s a voice for many people… you mention the woke brigade, which is a recurring theme in many of your comments… 

Grade: “The future of Ofcom is about leaving one single person’s opinion… whether it’s my opinion or a member of the executive board…will contribute to the debate, but one voice is not powerful within Ofcom, nor should it ever be.”

Like Fox or not, it’s refreshing to see Grade publicly back freedom of expression. The last thing Ofcom needs is an activist chair wading in to force their own elitist liberal politics onto viewers…

mdi-timer 31 March 2022 @ 11:22 31 Mar 2022 @ 11:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ofcom Receives 145 Silly Complaints Over Madeley’s Communist Question

Good Morning Britain received 145 complaints over Richard Madeley’s interview with SAGE scientist (and card-carrying communist) Susan Michie, in which Madeley quite rightly challenged Michie over her radical politics and questioned whether they informed her views on Covid policy. A completely fair question, and a long time coming.

Ofcom are unlikely to rule against Madeley for asking a question Michie did not want to answer; that’s an editorial judgement way outside Ofcom’s remit. Yet apparently for 145 viewers, it was all too much. Of course, amongst those complaining was Michie herself, who took to Twitter to write:

“A complaint has been submitted and a public apology requested”.

If Michie and 144 other pearl-clutching viewers were upset by Madeley, Guido has to wonder what they thought of Matthew Syed’s comments on Politics Live yesterday…

mdi-timer 8 July 2021 @ 11:24 8 Jul 2021 @ 11:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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