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TalkRADIO fined £75,000 over George Galloway programme

George Galloway (Daniel Leal-Olivas)
George Galloway (Daniel Leal-Olivas)

The broadcasting watchdog has imposed a £75,000 fine on talkRADIO over a show hosted by George Galloway.

Three episodes of the ex-MP’s programme failed to maintain due impartiality while dealing with the Salisbury poisoning and allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, Ofcom said.

Now the regulator has fined the station’s licence-holder, talkSPORT Ltd.

A convoy of police and military vehicles leave Salisbury District Hospital
A convoy of police and military vehicles leave Salisbury District Hospital (PA)

“Under Ofcom rules, all broadcasters must remain duly impartial when covering matters of major political controversy,” the watchdog said.

“TalkRADIO failed to do so in three episodes of the George Galloway programme during discussions about the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, and allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.”

On three occasions, when audience contributions about the Skripal poisoning differed from the former MP’s position, Galloway joked that the listeners who had sent in their messages were in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.

Ofcom previously found that Galloway breached broadcasting rules by presenting allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour as a concocted means to criticise party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

TalkRADIO previously said in a statement: “You expect robust opinions from George Galloway, but we accept that on this occasion he crossed the line. As a station we understand the need for dissenting voices with a range of counter-opinions.”

Ofcom said an episode of the news programme Today on NTV Mir Baltic also discussed the political aftermath of the events in Salisbury, but failed to maintain due impartiality.

Its licence-holder has been fined £20,000 for breaking broadcasting rules.

The channel is targeted at Russian speakers in the Baltic states.

Both stations will have to broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s findings.

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