Ofcom clarifies rules on politicians presenting TV and radio programmes

Ofcom clarifies rules on politicians presenting TV and radio programmes
Nadine Dorries

Ofcom has clarified the regulator’s rules for politicians presenting and appearing on TV and radio programs after it was revealed that former Cabinet ministers Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg will be helming new talk shows.

It was announced last month that former Culture Secretary Dorries will host a Friday night talk show for TalkTV, while Tory MP for North East Somerset Rees-Mogg will host a regular program for GB News.

After a surge of questions about the presence of former and current politicians on television and radio, the media regulator acknowledged that the rules “may seem complicated” but are “incredibly important”.

Ofcom said politicians are allowed to present TV and radio shows but there are “some exceptions”.

In maintaining an expected level of impartiality towards broadcasters’ newscasts, the regulator’s regulations state: “No politician shall be used as a newscaster, interviewer or reporter on newscasts unless exceptionally editorially justified.”

“In this case, the political affiliation of this person must be made clear to the audience.”

In relation to non-news content, Ofcom said: “Outside of news programmes, there is no Ofcom rule preventing an incumbent politician or political candidate from presenting or appearing on a TV or radio show – provided he does not at an election taking place or forthcoming.

“This means that politicians are allowed to present current affairs programmes, such as telephone conversations with the audience, but they must ensure that a range of views are reflected in their programme.”

The regulator said the rules differ during election and referendum periods and that political candidates “are not allowed to present any television or radio programs” during these periods.

It added that this “includes programs that do not contain a discussion of politics or current affairs”.

However, candidates and referendum representatives are permitted to appear in, but not present, non-political programs planned or planned before the election or referendum period.

Dorries, Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire, will start Friday Night With Nadine on TalkTV on February 3, joining a roster that also includes Piers Morgan, Jeremy Kyle, Vanessa Feltz and Sharon Osbourne.

The first of their hour-long weekly programs will feature an interview with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

News of Dorries’ latest project followed the announcement that hardline Brexiteer and Boris Johnson loyalist Rees-Mogg will launch a new UK news program in which he will “debate the hot topics of the day” and guests from “across politics” will present spectrum”.

Rees-Mogg, who was Brexit Opportunity Minister and briefly served as Business Secretary, will also take his show on tour and broadcast it to live audiences in cities across the country.

Dorries has been accused by Parliament’s anti-corruption regulator, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Appointments (Acoba), of breaking government rules by failing to consult the body before accepting the role.

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