Channel 4 News lead anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has raised concerns that the government is using the likes of GB News as a “platform” to avoid scrutiny.
The right-leaning network generated headlines this week when it was rapped by Ofcom for a show in which two Conservative politicians interviewed the Conservative Chancellor about the budget.
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According to Guru-Murthy, there have been recent examples of Channel 4 News being told there was no time to ask government officials a question as that time had been taken up by “softball questions” from the likes of GB News.
“I’m worried the government uses [the likes of] GB News as a platform,” he added. “It is not the issue of them existing but how the people in power use them. If [the government] says ‘well that network is on our side’ or a left-wing party says ‘we’ll go to a leftie channel like [left-leaning website] Novara Media’ then that will be bad for public service broadcasting.”
Guru-Murthy, who is appearing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing this year, was speaking at the RTS Cambridge Convention alongside Piers Morgan and prior to GB News CEO Angelos Frangopolous.
Responding to Ofcom’s decison and the six similar live investigations, Frangopolous criticized the regualtor for failing to consider the concept of “due impartiality.”
“‘Due’ is a very contentious word and should allow program makers to apply a layer of appropriate impartiality,” he added. “That is difficult to do when you have a regulator who says there wasn’t enough ‘impartiality,’ no matter how much you argue.”
Frangopolous said Ofcom is “opaque on the word ‘due'” and added that breaches of the regulator’s code are “normal,” as he pointed to times when Sky and the BBC have fallen foul.
“It’s going to be a constant conversation with the regulator because we are pushing boundaries and doing things differently and that is a really good thing for the industry,” added Frangopolous, who described GB News as “addressing market failure” several times during his panel session on day two of the convention.
GB News’ practice of having politicians host topical shows has generated plenty of controversy of late and both BBC News boss Deborah Turness and Sky News Managing Director and Executive Editor Jonathan Levy said that they would not allow sitting politicians to host shows.
Earlier, Talk TV host Morgan described the UK’s strict impartiality rules as “anachronistic.”
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