Nick Robinson has accused Ofcom of allowing Right-wing media outlets such as GB News to bend impartiality rules.
The presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said that “highly partisan views are now routinely broadcast” on radio and television news channels.
Asked by Press Gazette for his thoughts on GB News and TalkTV, Robinson began by saying: “Competition is good.”
However, he expressed fears that Britain could end up in a similar place to the US, where Fox News paid $788 million (£633 million) to settle a defamation case after broadcasting false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged against Donald Trump.
“The question I think we’ve got to ask ourselves is: are we sure it couldn’t happen here? Not today, not tomorrow, but one day?” he asked.
Robinson said he felt that the UK had “moved very quickly, without much public conversation, it seems to me, from a model of broadcasting impartiality to a completely different, much broader definition of what impartiality really is.”
He went on: “News and highly partisan views are now routinely broadcast alongside each other on radio and TV news channels. Presenters tell viewers and listeners what they think. Serving politicians host their own shows and interview their own party colleagues, even during election campaigns.
“None of this, we’re told, is a breach of the rules. If so, the rules I’ve operated under... for more than 30 years, have been changed without anyone being told, let alone asked if they agree.”
In response, Ofcom said: “Our code makes clear that the approach to due impartiality may vary according to the nature of the subject, the type of programme and channel, and the likely expectation of the audience.”
The regulator is investigating an episode of the GB News programme, Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, in which Philip Davies and Esther McVey, the Conservative MPs, interviewed Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, about his Budget.
Ofcom added it “will look at the programme’s compliance with our rules on politicians presenting programmes, and whether it included an appropriately wide range of significant views relating to a matter of major political controversy or current public policy”.
Asked about the departure of Richard Sharp, the former BBC chairman who was forced to resign over the revelation that he had helped to facilitate an £800,000 loan to Boris Johnson, Robinson said: “I thought it was another reminder that he who sups with Boris Johnson sometimes comes to regret it”.