George Galloway has been rapped by Ofcom for attacking a potential political opponent on UTV Radio's national station talkSPORT. The regulator says Galloway used his position as a radio presenter to promote his own possible candidacy in a parliamentary seat, without giving opponents an opportunity to respond.
It happened during a breakfast show he covered in August, when he announced that he intended to stand in the next general election in the constituency of Poplar and Limehouse. During the course of his statement, he made a number of derogatory comments about the existing MP for this area, Jim Fitzpatrick.
talkSPORT accepted that, on this occasion, George Galloway’s comments had compromised the need for due impartiality. It also acknowledged that Mr Galloway’s criticism of Mr Fitzpatrick was inappropriate, particularly as his future opponent did not have the opportunity to defend himself.
The broadcaster assured Ofcom that the matter had been discussed with both the presenter and the producer and it was made clear to them that this item had fallen short of the Code’s requirements regarding due impartiality. They both understood the issue and that the Code must, in the future, be observed. In mitigation, talkSPORT wished to point out that George Galloway had not mentioned the name of his political party and he did offer his opponent the opportunity to challenge him anywhere, anytime, in a public forum for a public debate.
Ofcom received three complaints from listeners.