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Bloomberg TV found in breach of rules after Labour broadcast

LONDON - Bloomberg Television has been found in breach of impartiality regulations for broadcasting coverage of the Labour Party in the run-up to the General Election, but not giving time to any other political parties.

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Ofcom has ruled that Bloomberg TV is in breach of rules on due impartiality for the broadcast, which took place on April 28.

The channel showed live coverage of Labour's Business Manifesto launch, and followed it by long interviews with Tony Blair and two other senior members of the Labour Party.

This sparked complaints from three viewers, who said that Bloomberg had not been duly impartial because no equivalent coverage was given to other political parties during the General Election campaign.

Bloomberg TV argued that the coverage was not uncritical and that Blair faced hostile questioning from the press and the audience at the event. It also said that opposition party representatives were invited to the event, but had declined.

However, Ofcom rejected the argument, because the Labour Party had been given an extended opportunity to present its policies through the manifesto launch and interviews, but no such coverage had been given at any time through the campaign to the other major political parties.

In its ruling, Ofcom said: "It noted the licensee's representation that this was not a deliberate breach of the code and considered that the breach did not result from political bias. However, the committee was surprised and concerned that Bloomberg TV appeared at times to continue to defend its position that it may not have breached the code."

Bloomberg is being directed to transmit the findings on three consecutive days at 11am.

"We are pleased that Ofcom recognised that there was no deliberate breach of the Programme Code and that there is no political bias at Bloomberg Television. We abide by the decision and have made improvements to better ensure compliance," a spokesman for Bloomberg said.

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