Fox News broke the UK’s broadcasting rules

Manchester vigil after terror attack.
PA

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The Manchester attack happened at an Ariana Grande concert

Two Fox News broadcasts in the UK have been found in breach of Ofcom rules over impartiality.

A January edition of the Hannity programme discussed US President Donald Trump’s ban restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Ofcom said the US-made show was largely pro-Trump and did not sufficiently reflect alternative viewpoints.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was also found in breach for a broadcast in May following the Manchester terror attack.

Regarding Hannity, Ofcom said they had taken into account “that Fox News is a US news channel, directed at US audiences, which is available in the UK. The people who watch it in the UK are aware that it is a US channel and their expectations are different.

“It is not a main source of news in the UK. However, we were also mindful that, in our view, this particular programme dealt with major matters relating to current public policy that, as well as being of international significance, were of particular relevance and significance to UK viewers.”

Ofcom said the Tucker Carlson Tonight episode accused various public bodies and individuals in the UK , including Prime Minister Theresa May, of “doing nothing to counter terrorism; stop radicalisation; protect citizens from terrorism; or protect ‘thousands of underage girls’ from rape and abuse”.

‘Official lie’

The programme also criticised public leaders, saying that “their inaction was motivated by political correctness; they valued how people saw them over the lives of children; and they were forcing an ‘official lie’ on citizens, which was ‘totalitarian’ and ‘wicked'”.

Ofcom said there was no reflection of the views of the UK Government or any of the authorities or people criticised, “which we would have expected given the nature and amount of criticism of them in the programme”.

The media watchdog also noted that “the presenter (Carson) did not challenge the views of his contributors, instead, he reinforced their views”.

Twenty-two people were killed when Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on 22 May.

Fox News is a channel originating in the US which stopped broadcasting on Sky in the UK in August and surrendered its licence to Ofcom on 1 November.

Sky said the decision to axe the channel was down to low audience figures.

Ofcom said it was “appropriate” to publish its rulings against Fox News, even though it is no longer a licensed television service falling under its jurisdiction.

The decision was not related to Fox’s takeover bid for Sky, a source told the BBC.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley has referred the bid to competition regulators, the CMA.

21st Century Fox is offering £11.7bn for the 61% stake in Sky it does not already own.

Critics of the merger, which gives 21st Century Fox access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe, fear it will mean Rupert Murdoch has too much control of the UK media.

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