Ofcom to investigate BBC climate change interviews

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Interviews with former Chancellor Lord Lawson sparked complaints in 2014 and 2017

Media watchdog Ofcom has launched its first broadcasting standards investigation into the BBC since taking over as its regulator in April.

Ofcom will look into why Radio 4’s Today programme broke BBC rules twice in two interviews with climate change sceptic Lord Lawson.

The BBC upheld complaints about one interview in 2014, and about another interview this August.

The BBC has not made any comment on the Ofcom investigation.

In 2014, the BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld complaints from three listeners that a Today item had given undue weight to Lord Lawson’s views and had conveyed a misleading impression of the scientific evidence.

The programme courted controversy again when the Conservative peer was invited back in August 2017.

He said “official figures” showed average world temperatures had “slightly declined” – but he wasn’t challenged on air and that view was shown to be false by the Met Office.

The BBC admitted it should have challenged him and that the interview had breached its “guidelines on accuracy and impartiality”.

Ofcom took over responsibility for overseeing the BBC’s editorial standards in April.

The regulator said: “We are investigating whether this interview, which followed a similar interview in 2014, breached our rules on due accuracy and due impartiality.”

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