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Ofcom will not investigate Dan Wootton’s GB News show over lockdown comments

The broadcast watchdog received 390 complaints about the programme.

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Dan Wootton (Gemma Gravett/GB News)

Dan Wootton (Gemma Gravett/GB News)

Dan Wootton (Gemma Gravett/GB News)

Broadcast watchdog Ofcom has said it will not formally investigate comments made on Dan Wootton’s GB News show about the effectiveness of lockdown restrictions.

The regulator received 390 complaints about the remarks during the launch programme of Tonight Live With Dan Wootton on the new channel on June 13.

An Ofcom spokeswoman cited the “right to free expression”, adding that there was a “rigorous” debate during the programme.

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The offices of GB News (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The offices of GB News (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

PA

The offices of GB News (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

In his opening monologue during the programme last month, Wootton said the Government has been “controlling every damn aspect of our lives”.

He called for lockdown restrictions to be completely lifted, saying the country remains “haunted” by the pandemic.

“Lockdowns are a crude measure,” the former executive editor of The Sun told viewers, adding that he thinks they have done more harm than good.

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The Ofcom spokeswoman said: “Our rules allow for rigorous debate around the response to coronavirus, which is consistent with the right to free expression.

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(Yui Mok/PA)

(Yui Mok/PA)

PA

(Yui Mok/PA)

“In our view, this programme included a range of different viewpoints, including on the merits and effectiveness of lockdown restrictions, and guests were able to challenge views they disagreed with.”

Wootton’s show aired on GB News’ first day of broadcasting.

The channel, which has been fronted by Andrew Neil, has positioned itself as a rival to the news and current affairs offerings from the traditional broadcasters.

High-profile signings including former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart.


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