GB News has officially breached Ofcom rules for the very first time over Covid vaccine comments

GB News has officially breached Ofcom rules for the very first time over Covid vaccine comments
GB News presenter quits 'Ofcom’s b****h has had his revenge'

Controversial news channel GB News has been found to have broken rules set by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom for the first time, after ex-presenter Mark Steyn made remarks questioning the efficacy of a third shot or “booster” jab of a coronavirus vaccine in April last year.

Steyn is no longer part of the broadcaster’s presenting roster, dramatically quitting the station last month by taking aim at the company’s compliance officer he considered to be “Ofcom’s b****” and taking issue with GB News trying to make him cough up for Ofcom fines.

In an episode of his programme from 21 April 2022, during which he drew upon data from the UK Health Security Agency (UK HSA), Steyn said: “There is only one conclusion from those numbers, which is that the third booster shot so zealously promoted by the British state and its groupthink media has failed, and in fact exposed you to significantly greater risk of infection, hospitalisation and death.”

Steyn then showed several tables from multiple Covid-19 vaccine surveillance reports from the UK HAS, with one dataset showing that the number of deaths within 60 days of a positive Covid test – across the four weeks in March 2022 – were 2,106 for the triple-vaccinated aged 80 or over, compared to 145 who were unvaccinated.

Except there’s just one small problem: the UK HSA report explicitly states “the vaccination status of cases, inpatients and deaths should not be used to assess vaccine effectiveness because of differences in risk, behaviour and testing in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations".

It continues: “In the context of very high vaccine coverage in the population, even with a highly effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalisations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals, simply because a larger proportion of the population are vaccinated than unvaccinated and no vaccine is 100 per cent effective.

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“This is especially true because vaccination has been prioritised in individuals who are more susceptible or more at risk of severe disease,” it goes on to add.

Wait a minute, so GB News may not have properly read the datasets which clearly say you can’t comment on vaccine effectiveness using the data?

We are shocked, we tell you. Shocked.

Apparently, GB News told Ofcom that it did not accept that such a disclaimer should “either have been mentioned in the programme or have been a bar to the discussion altogether” and that Steyn’s arguments were the product of “lengthy research, analysis and consideration”.


It’s a shame that Ofcom found them in breach of rule 2.2 of their code, which states “factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience”, then.

The watchdog concluded: “Ofcom has emphasised that broadcasters are free to transmit programmes which may be considered controversial and challenging and to question statistics or other evidence produced by governments or other official sources. It is clearly in the public interest to scrutinise information of this nature, provided programming is compliant with the Code, specifically that the portrayals of factual matters are not materially misleading.

“However, in this case, Ofcom considered that this programme incorrectly claimed that official UKHSA data provided definitive evidence that there was a causal link between receiving the third Covid-19 booster vaccine and higher infection, hospitalisation and death rates. This was misleading because the programme failed to reflect that the reports made clear that the raw data contained within them should not be used to draw conclusions about vaccine efficacy, due to the biases inherent in those in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

“Given the content was broadcast as part of a factual programme on a news and current affairs service, and may have resulted in viewers making important decisions about their own health, we found that the programme was materially misleading and in breach of Rule 2.2 of the Code.”

Twitter users were pretty pleased to see Ofcom take action, with some saying it was “about time”:

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