Ofcom rules that broadcasters must give coverage to UKIP ahead of this summer’s European parliamentary elections
Ofcom published a statement on 3 March 2014 following its review of the list of major political parties ahead of the European parliamentary elections which take place on 22 May 2014.
The broadcasting regulator has ruled that UKIP should be added to the list of major parties for the upcoming 2014 European elections for England and Wales only, as it has “demonstrated significant previous electoral support” at the last two European parliamentary elections in England and Wales.
UKIP therefore must be considered as a “major party” alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats in UK-wide broadcasts.
UKIP will not be added to the list of major parties Scotland, however, as it still only has low levels of support in Scotland.
Therefore party election broadcasts relating to the European elections that are transmitted in Scotland only will not be required to give prominence to UKIP.
Ofcom’s ruling relates only to the European parliamentary elections. Equal coverage of UKIP will not be required in relation to broadcasts covering the other local and mayoral elections taking place throughout England on the same day as the European elections.
The practical implications of the addition of UKIP to the list of major political parties for the European elections will be as follows:
Broadcasters transmitting party election broadcasts on a UK-wide basis will be obliged to treat UKIP as a major party across the whole of England, Wales and Scotland as a whole
STV will not be required to treat UKIP as a major party for the purposes of broadcasting Scotland-only party election
However, ITV Wales will have to treat UKIP as a major party for the purposes of broadcasting Wales-only PEBs, reflecting the fact that UKIP has significant levels of support in Wales
In news and current affairs election programming that focuses on the European Parliamentary elections across England, Wales and Scotland (ie Great Britain) as a whole, UKIP will be treated as a major party across the whole of England, Wales and Scotland (ie Great Britain)
However, in news and current affairs election programming that focuses on the European Parliamentary elections in just Scotland, UKIP will not be treated as a major party in such programming
This article was written by Vanessa Barnett.
For more information contact Vanessa on +44 (0)20 7203 5228 or email@example.com