Feb 18 2015
The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority has dismissed a complaint against GBC by the Panorama newspaper, saying it found no evidence that GBC breached the Broadcasting Act, nor the GRA’s Code on Due Impartiality, Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence. In its Closure Statement the GRA says that, contrary to Panorama’s claim, it found no evidence that GBC acted in a discriminatory manner.
Last October Panorama made a formal complaint to the GBC Board, essentially because it didn’t think GBC mentioned them often enough as a source in its news programmes, compared with other media. It claimed that by not doing so, GBC could be negatively affecting their livelihood. GBC referred Panorama’s complaint to the independent regulator, the GRA, which accordingly began an investigation.
Asked for a detailed statement in response to the complaint, GBC explained that despite Panorama’s persistent publication of stories against it and some of its employees, even when these were unfounded or an exaggeration of the truth, the Corporation had shown great restraint and had always been fair in its treatment of the newspaper. It highlighted numerous examples when GBC had credited Panorama and, conversely, many instances when Panorama had either ignored significant stories broken by GBC or failed to mention GBC as the source.
After further submissions from Panorama and GBC, the GRA has now published its Closure Statement. In it, it says that from the information provided by both parties it cannot find any evidence to suggest that GBC breached the section of the Broadcasting Act that deals with the presentation of news in an objective and impartial manner, and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views. At Panorama’s request that it examine “the wider picture”, the GRA also asked GBC about its procedures for determining when a story was newsworthy. In the Closure Statement, the GRA says it was satisfied with GBC’s response and found that the broadcaster complied with the requirements of the Act.
The Authority notes that Panorama raised serious concerns about GBC’s editorial judgment, but says it found no evidence to prove that GBC acted in a discriminatory manner, nor committed a breach of the Act or Code. While highlighting that, as the sole public service broadcaster in Gibraltar, GBC has a duty to ensure the broadcast of news is made available to the whole of the community in an objective and impartial manner, the Regulatory Authority has dismissed Panorama’s complaint.
Panorama has told GBC it is considering the matter before deciding what to do next.