UK Regulator Finds Fox News’ Hannity, Carlson Breached Impartiality Standards

from November 6, 2017 at 10:46AM

The British government’s communications regulator ruled on Monday that the Fox News programs anchored by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson breached the UK’s impartiality rules in segments that aired earlier this year.

The regulator, Ofcom, found that the segments did not provide adequate view points even as opinion programs and therefore broke “due impartiality” standards.

The ruling comes as the British government considers 21st Century Fox’s — the parent company of Fox News — bid to buy British outlet Sky News. Fox has faced significant scrutiny from British regulators after top officials at Fox resigned amid sexual harassment allegations and Fox News faced a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with members of the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murder DNC staffer.

In September, Ofcom found that “alleged behaviors” at 21st Century Fox were “concerning,” but said that their findings did not warrant additional review. Ofcom also reviewed programs like “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” due to complaints about the programs, but found that the shows did not have to meet a “due accuracy requirement” since they are not news programs. The British competition watchdog is now reviewing the proposed merger.

Fox News stopped airing its programs in the UK in August, but Ofcom said Monday that it reviewed outstanding complaints “to ensure there is a complete compliance record and to facilitate public understanding of the Code.”

The regulator found that Hannity’s January 31 segment on President Donald Trump’s travel ban “didn’t include a sufficiently wide range of views, and any alternative opinions put forward during the discussion were dismissed by the presenter.” Ofcom ruled that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” breached impartiality rules with a May 25 segment on the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England because a “discussion about the UK’s security policies did not include an adequate range of viewpoints.”

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