GB News: Ofcom receives 373 complaints about Dan Wootton broadcast

Viewers react to programme that included claims UK government is running Covid-19 ‘scare campaign’

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 16 June 2021 13:25 BST
Dan Wootton claims UK public health officials want to create 'biosecurity state like China'

Ofcom received 373 complaints from viewers of Tonight Live with Dan Wootton on GB News’ opening night on 13 June.

The figure was made public in the regulator’s latest audience complaints report.

It also received 125 complaints about a Jeremy Vine broadcast on Channel 5, and 66 relating to an episode of Good Morning Britain on 9 June.

Mr Wootton, a former showbiz journalist and executive editor of The Sun, began his 13 June programme with a monologue that criticised the expected delay to England’s exit from coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s increasingly clear now that there is a move among some public health officials and politicians to create an ultra-cautious biosecurity state, copying the likes of China,” he claimed.

Mr Wootton encouraged viewers to push back against “doomsday scientists” who he said were taking control and were “addicted to the power”. He accused the government of having “terrified the public into supporting lockdowns” with scare tactics.

The fledgling GB News bills itself as a straight-talking antidote to mainstream news broadcasters.

Andrew Neil, its chair, told viewers on opening night that it would showcase “passionate presenters with strong, heartfelt personalities and a flair and sense of humour” who would promote “unheard” points of view.

It has faced a rocky start, with advertisers including Ikea and Kopparberg, the cider brand, pulling their promotions. Ikea claimed GB News’ broadcasting did not match its “humanistic values”.

Mr Neil mocked that suggestion by pointing out the Swedish firm had been fined, just this week, for running a three-year spying campaign against its own workers.

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