Ofcom says broadcasters must give coverage to UKIP in European elections

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Broadcast news and current affairs programmes will be required to give a fair share of editorial coverage to the UK Independence Party in the run-up to this summer's European elections, Ofcom has ruled.
 
The broadcast regulator said UKIP had "significant aggregate support across England, Wales and Scotland" to be considered a "major party" alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats in UK-wide broadcasts.
 
Coverage relating to the European elections in Wales will also be required to feature UKIP, alongside the other three main national parties and Plaid Cymru.
 
However, European election coverage specifically focusing on Scotland will not be required to give prominence to UKIP because Ofcom considered the party's level of support in Scotland to be "low".
 
The ruling applies to the European parliamentary elections taking place on 22 May. Equal coverage for UKIP is not required in broadcasts relating to other local and mayoral elections taking place in parts of England on the same day.
 
TV channels air party election broadcasts from the major registered parties in the run-up to polling day. Broadcasters' own news coverage is bound by sections five and six of the Ofcom code, which relate to due impartiality.
 
Ukip director of communications Patrick O'Flynn said: "This Ofcom decision was a fairly obvious one given the success of Ukip over the past few years. We hope that all broadcast outlets will reflect on the fact that patterns of support in British politics are changing very quickly and that more and more people are supporting and voting for Ukip.
 
"It makes no sense for patterns of coverage to be based on patterns of electoral support that pertained four years ago. Ukip is a major player in British politics now."
 
 

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