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GB News: Ofcom rules breached over Don’t Kill Cash campaign


GB News breached impartiality rules with an episode of The Live Desk, which promoted its branded campaign Don’t Kill Cash, Ofcom has said.

GB News: Ofcom rules breached over Don't Kill Cash campaign
GB News: Ofcom rules breached over Don’t Kill Cash campaign

The show, on 7 July 2023, broke two parts of the media watchdog’s code.

The campaign included a petition asking the government to introduce legislation to “protect the status of cash as legal tender and as a widely accepted means of payment in the UK until at least 2050”, the regulator added.

GB News said it was “disappointed” .

It said in a statement: “We are disappointed by Ofcom’s ruling that our campaign to protect cash for society’s most financially vulnerable people was a breach of the Broadcasting Code.

“We disagree with Ofcom’s assertion that because the campaign was under the GB News banner, it represented the personal or self-interested view of anyone within the company.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. We maintain our campaign was not political and so did not consider it invoked due impartiality rules requiring substantially different views. The campaign received widespread support across the political spectrum.”

Ofcom said it expected GB News to “take careful account of this decision in its compliance of future programming”.

It said it would publish the outcome of its investigations into five other GB News programmes relating to this campaign “in due course”.

GB News: Ofcom rules breached over Don't Kill Cash campaign
GB News: Ofcom rules breached over Don’t Kill Cash campaign

Ofcom has said its guidelines require broadcasters to not express views on “matters of political and industrial controversy or current public policy”.

Its findings on the Don’t Kill Cash campaign included:

  • The topic had been a matter of “political controversy and a matter relating to current public policy” at the time, as the Financial Services and Markets Bill was being passed through Parliament in June
  • GB News “clearly endorsed” the campaign by promoting it with a QR code and on-screen banners which “encouraged viewers to sign their petition calling for legislative change”, while promoting it “across GB News programming”
  • In terms of impartiality, the programme offered to only a “limited extent… a different perspective to that of the campaign”

The campaign, which has more than 310,000 signatures, warns “Britain is fast becoming a cashless society”.

The TV and radio channel, which launched in 2021, claimed the rise of card payment methods had meant “people who rely on cash are increasingly being left behind by the relentless march of technology”.

In October, Ofcom found that GB News had breached impartiality rules in an interview with Reform Party leader Richard Tice.

Former Brexit MEP Martin Daubney, who was presenting Laurence Fox’s now defunct show on 16 June, was discussing immigration policy with Mr Tice.

The regulator found that Mr Tice was not “sufficiently challenged” on his views and “the limited alternative views presented were dismissed”.

GB News accepted the content was not compliant.

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