GB News won’t be investigated (Pictures: GB News)
Ofcom won’t be formally investigating GB News over comments made by Dan Wootton about lockdown restrictions.
The organisation received 390 complaints about the presenter’s remarks during the debut edition of Tonight Live With Dan Wootton on the channel on June 13, but the regulator ruled that the programme ‘included a range of different viewpoints’.
In a statement, a spokeswoman said: ‘Our rules allow for rigorous debate around the response to coronavirus, which is consistent with the right to free expression.
‘In our view, this programme included a range of different viewpoints, including on the merits and effectiveness of lockdown restrictions, and guests were able to challenge views they disagreed with.’
On his show, the journalist criticised Boris Johnson’s delaying of so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
‘Lockdowns are a crude measure,’ he said. ‘Mark my words, in the years to come we will discover they have caused far more deaths and devastation than the government has ever admitted.
Dan’s comments had received complaints (Photo: GB News)
‘They should be wiped from the public health playbook forever more. But, tragically, the doomsday scientists and public health officials have taken control.’
He continued: ‘They’re addicted to the power and the government are satisfied its 15-month-long never-ending scare campaign has suitably terrified the public into supporting lockdowns.
‘But if we don’t fight back against this madness, some of the damage will be irreversible.’
Meanwhile, Ofcom’s group director of content and media policy Kevin Bakhurst recently said that he had seen ‘nothing that would worry me as a regulator’ since GB News’ launch.
According to the Times, Bakhurst said at a media event that everything he had seen so far on GB News looked ‘accurate’ and that it had achieved ‘due impartiality’.
He said: ‘From what I’ve seen so far, and I was watching it through my news background but also through my regulator’s eye now, overall there’s nothing that leaps out at me as thinking “that’s problematic.” ‘
Bakhurst, who was formerly the controller of BBC News and the managing director of news and current affairs at the Irish national public service broadcaster RTÉ before joining Ofcom in 2016, noted that he is not part of the ‘formal monitoring’ of GB News by Ofcom.
Got a story?
If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us email@example.com, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
What is Ofcom and what does it cover?
Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.
The watchdog makes sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.
Ofcom deals with most content on television, radio and video-on-demand services, including the BBC. However, if your complaint is about something you saw or heard in a BBC programme, you may need to complain to the BBC first.
Its rules for television and radio programmes are set out in the Broadcasting Code.
The rules in the Broadcasting Code also apply to the BBC iPlayer.
This Broadcasting Code is the rule book that broadcasters have to follow and it covers a number of areas, including; protecting the under-18s, protecting audiences from harmful and/or offensive material and ensuring that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
Audiences can complain to Ofcom if they believe a breach of the Broadcasting Code has been made.
Every time Ofcom receives a complaint from a viewer or listener, they assess it to see if it needs further investigation.
If Ofcom decide to investigate, they will include the case in a list of new investigations, published in the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.
An investigation is a formal process which can take some time depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
Ofcom can also launch investigations in the absence of a complaint from a viewer or listener.