Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 17:02 UK

Galloway censured over radio show

George Galloway
Galloway presents a twice weekly evening phone-in show on Talksport

Respect MP George Galloway has breached Ofcom's impartiality rules after calling for listeners to attend anti-Israel protests on his radio show.

The media regulator received 14 complaints about five shows broadcast on Talksport during the Gaza conflict between November 2008 and January 2009.

Ofcom ruled the show "crossed the line from legitimate and provocative debate" to one calling listeners to action.

However it also ruled the show did not break rules on offering opposing views.

Ofcom said that although Galloway did not in any way encourage or incite hatred or violence, he turned the debate into "active campaigning on a major matter of political controversy".

'Due weight'

It noted that, as the presenter was actively involved in one side of the campaign and at various points gave details of dates, times and locations of demonstrations across the UK, he failed to comply with impartiality requirements.

The programmes Ofcom received complaints about all featured "heated debate" between Galloway, listeners and media commentators about the situation in the Gaza strip.

The regulator said the subject was particularly emotive during the time as one of the broadcasts, on 27 December, coincided with the start of the offensive in the Gaza strip, which Israel said was to stop Hamas rockets being fired into the country.

It added Galloway had long been recognised as an outspoken critic of the Israeli government.

But in looking at whether "due weight" was given to other views, Ofcom noted a wide range of opinion was featured through guests on the programme and the MP specifically made a call for listeners who did not agree with him to phone in.

"While the views of some callers may not have been afforded due weight in specific programmes, it was Ofcom's view that overall, on the service, due weight was achieved," Ofcom said.

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