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Ofcom finds BBC in breach of due impartiality rules

Ofcom has found the BBC in breach of due impartiality rules in relation to a news item broadcast on The World at One, BBC Radio 4, on 24 February 2021.

The news item discussed the dispute between the Scottish Government and former First Minister, Alex Salmond over its handling of harassment complaints against him and the consequent Holyrood inquiry.

It included an interview with Baroness Ruth Davidson who expressed, at length, strongly critical views about the Scottish Government without due weight being given to alternative perspectives.

We received a complaint about the programme, which had completed the BBC First process.

After investigating  the complaint against our broadcasting rules, we found that the BBC failed to preserve due impartiality.

About our investigation

In reaching our decision, we took careful account of the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression.

We also considered the following factors:

  • The gravity of Ruth Davidson’s accusations regarding the Scottish Government and her strong and continued criticism
  • The fact that she was able to express her views at length without alternative perspectives being given due weight
  • The absence of a clear link to the subsequent afternoon programme which continued to cover the story.

Find out more about the Broadcasting Code and how we assess complaints.


Channel website: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/news-centre/2022/ofcom-finds-bbc-in-breach-of-due-impartiality-rules

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