23 February 2022

Letter from Ofcom to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We have responded to Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, regarding the situation in Ukraine and broadcasting standards.

Dear Secretary of State,

Thank you for your letter of today about the crisis in Ukraine. I agree with you that a free media is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. Ofcom takes very seriously our role as the independent communications regulator, charged with upholding freedom of speech while ensuring that TV and radio audiences are protected from harm.

Recognising the serious nature of the crisis in Ukraine, we have been keeping the situation under close review and have already stepped up our oversight of coverage of these events by broadcasters in the UK. We are expediting complaints in this area as a matter of urgency and we will not hesitate to take swift action where necessary. I am confident that we have the full range of enforcement tools at our disposal and our track record shows that when we find a breach of our rules, we can and do take action. As always we will be fully transparent about any investigations we open, and the outcomes of those.

Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, which reflects the rules established by Parliament in the Communications Act, requires all licensees to ensure that news – in whatever form – is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality. It is acceptable for broadcasters to present issues from a particular perspective provided that alternative views and opinions are also represented. It would not be acceptable for any of our licensees to broadcast one-sided propaganda.

Noting the Parliamentary interest in these issues, I am copying this letter to Julian Knight MP and the Rt Hon. the Baroness Stowell of Beeston, as chairs of the Commons and Lords Select Committees respectively.

Yours sincerely,

Dame Melanie Dawes

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