George Galloway puts talkRADIO in breach with Ofcom

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A complaint against George Galloway on talkRADIO has been upheld by Ofcom.

The regulator was alerted to his programme on 16th March 2018 which the complainant said it contained “biased and unbalanced views” about the response of the UK and Russian Governments to the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on 4 March 2018. The complainant also considered that any listeners who attempted to challenge Mr Galloway’s views were “mocked and ridiculed”.

Ofcom said it considered this programme raised potential issues as it was dealing with a matter of major political controversy and major matter relating to current public policy, namely, the policies and actions of the UK and Russian authorities, concerning the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Part of George’s comments on the matter can be read online here, pages 6-11 of this PDF.

In response to the complaint, the station described Mr Galloway as a “national figure known for his controversial views which would not come as a surprise to listeners”. It added that the “majority of listeners are familiar with his reputation as well as the format of his ‘personal view’ phone-in programmes… and would be comfortable with adjusting their expectations of due impartiality”.

The Licensee also described Mr Galloway as “famous for holding highly partial opinions that are anything but mainstream and are more often than not at odds with the majority of his fellow presenters on” talkRADIO.

The Licensee acknowledged that Mr Galloway’s “introduction against the Government’s position on the Skripal-Novichok affair went unchallenged” but considered it “reasonable to assume that Galloway’s colourful critique would be regarded by listeners as a highly opinionated personal-view attack by Galloway that did not require a formal rebuttal”.

The bosses at the station were also of the view that Mr Galloway’s comments were largely “questioning the calibre of those in power and their comments… rather than major matters of government policy”. It also considered that, rather than “attacking government policy or action”, Mr Galloway was “putting forward a number of hypotheses as to who was responsible for the Skripal poisoning”.

talkRADIO highlighted that the station’s schedule demonstrated impartiality, with four guests on the breakfast show the same day who discussed the Skripal poisoning and expressed support for the Government’s handling of the crisis.

The Licensee also considered it “relevant to point out that on the day in question, the producer of George Galloway’s show endeavoured to persuade a number of guests to feature on the programme to challenge Galloway’s views” but “all of them declined”.

talkRADIO defended Mr Galloway’s “right to broadcast his opinions without interference, as well as its overall approach to complying with due impartiality requirements across” the schedule. However, it accepted that “on this occasion, there was not enough lively debate provided by either listeners or guests to challenge Mr Galloway’s views within the programme itself”.

The Licensee said that this did not produce “the kind of entertaining, robust and controversial debate that makes for good radio, whereas airing diverse opinions is sound editorial policy that also ensures regulatory compliance with regard to due impartiality”.

The station has taken a number of steps to avoid the situation happening again.

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9 Comments
  1. Radio Geordie says

    Its George Galloway. He’s a liability.
    Your trying to defend the indefensible.

    How many millions is he going to cost Murdoch before he sacks him?

  2. PC in Spain says

    You knew what you were getting when you hired him.
    It will cost you now.
    Sack him now to save you further expense later.

  3. Willie Bone says

    People who listen and participate in ‘The Mother Of All Talk Shows,’ actually realise what they are getting themselves into while conversing with its host George Galloway! He is a well read, almost a formidable character with a very good grasp of knowledge of domestic and overseas news and current affairs! Also, George Galloway has a distinct reputation of not suffering fools gladly, one of the several reasons why ‘The Mother Of All Talk Shows’ commands a loyal audience on TalkRADIO UK…😉😉😉

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Wrong!
      The man is so up himself, he thinks his opinion is the only one that counts and doesn’t seem to grasp what happens on a phone-in show.
      In fact, he has a lot in common with Trump, head so far up his own arse he believes his own shit!

  4. Mike Thomas says

    I look forward to the George Galloway show every week and it makes a change from the incessant right wing rhetoric that gets rammed down our throats on a daily basis. I don’t think the problems lies with Galloway but with the fact that the UK media in general has become ‘normalised’ so far right in peoples minds that any other opinion seems extreme. Sad really I thought we made sacrifices in a World War and defeated the Nazis so that we had freedom of speech – looks like I was mistaken.

  5. Mike Thomas says

    Every radio that I have ever owned has what is called the on/off button or switch, I also have the ability to change to a different radio station at whim. Maybe these controls are not available or not immediately obvious to some people? I definitely would not waste my time listening to a presenter who I disliked so much that I had very strong negative opinions about them – surely that is the joy and privilege of ‘freedom of choice’? If you don’t like gorgeous George, then spin the dial, I am sure you can find some ‘Julia Hartley-Brewer’ listen again shows if you try hard enough!

  6. Mark Budgen says

    Anyone who thinks the official Skripal story is true has a screw loose.

    1. Joe Smith says

      Absolutely.

      It was them Martians that did it wasn’t it?

  7. Mike Thomas says

    Martins? No Martins in the Tory Cabinet last time that I looked, but then again they have been resigning at such a rate recently that a Martin may have been appointed in the last 24 hrs without me noticing.

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