Reprezent 107.3 FM has been found in breach of Ofcom rules after a presenter talked about UKIP on election day.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to a programme that was broadcast on 22 May 2014, the polling day for various elections including the European Parliamentary elections. The complainant objected to the programme including biased comments about the UK Independence party while the polls were still open.
The presenter said: “It’s election day. If you didn’t know then shame on you! I won’t lie. I did kinda forget until I got to my sister’s school, and the school was actually closed. So yeah that was my morning messed up. I hope you guys knew better. It is election day, and everywhere across London and all seats are up for grabs. And also it’s the European Parliament election and this week’s edition of ‘Rift of the Week’ is ‘The World versus UKIP’. That’s right; the UK Independence Party thought they were so smart with their little PR stunt on Twitter with hash tag ‘Why I’m voting UKIP’. It quickly descended and got really, really messy actually. Absolutely blew up in their faces…Let me know if you voted, if you voted today. Definitely let us know who you voted for and why you voted. If you voted UKIP, then we won’t be too hard on you. You know, everyone’s entitled to vote for who you want to. But, really? UKIP? Nah, nah, nah, nah.”
Rule 6.1 of the Code requires that programmes dealing with elections must comply with the due impartiality rules. The company which owns the community radio station, Eclectic Productions, accepted that this matter clearly constituted a breach saying it took this matter “very seriously indeed” and that the presenter in this case was “very contrite” for what had been said on air.
As a result of this incident, Eclectic Productions said that it had taken various steps. These included suspending the presenter “from leading any show” until they had received further training, and implementing: “specific election coverage training which will be mandatory for all presenters / producers”.