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talkSPORT fined £20,000

Ofcom has today fined talkSPORT Limited £20,000 for breaches of the media regulator’s Broadcasting Code in respect of its service talkSPORT. The fine was for an edition of The James Whale Show on the 20th March 2008.

Ofcom found that the Licensee had seriously breached the due impartiality rules at the time of an election. Whale criticised the labour candidate Ken Livingstone for the London mayoral elections, saying: “He has been nothing but a complete and utter tragedy for the capital city”. He then also directly encouraged listeners in London to vote for the Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson.

Ofcom received three complaints about the show and ruled that breaches of this nature have potential to cause considerable to the democratic process by conferring an unfair electoral advantage on a particular candidate.

Whale, later lost his job over the incident. A spokesman for talkSPORT said: "We took all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Programme Code, which were thwarted by the efforts of a determined presenter in a live programme. In terminating our contract with James Whale, we sent a very clear message to all our broadcasters that we would not tolerate deliberate breaches of the Code."

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