UK radio station Talk Radio must pay about $100,000 (£75,000) after breaking press guidelines for due impartiality.
The fine was ordered by UK broadcast regulator OfCom in response to three programs in 2018 that weren’t impartial. The programs discussed the poisoning in England of Russians Yulia and Sergei Skripal and allegations of anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party. iMediaEthics looked at the breaches and OfCom’s findings last year.
When OfCom was determining if it would issue a fine, Talk Radio argued the reports didn’t include any “aggravating factor such as hate speech or gravely offensive material”and the reports didn’t provide any “improper material benefit” to the station, according to OfCom. Further, Talk Radio argued its programs weren’t intentional and it was working to prevent repeat incidents. Talk Radio also claimed that the programs didn’t reach that many listeners because Galloway had a “niche” audience, that the fine was “excessive,” and that it had a “very limited” income.
iMediaEthics has written to Talk Radio to ask for its response to the fine.
However, OfCom decide to fine the station because breaking due impartiality guidelines are “potentially particularly serious” and the topics were “a matter of major political controversy or a major matter of current public policy.” OfCom also noted that the breaches were “serious” and “repeated.”
“The central objective of imposing a penalty is deterrance,” OfCom stated in its report.
Galloway was fired in 2019, with Talk Radio alleging he had “anti-Semitic views,” as iMediaEthics reported at the time.