The Independent Television Commission

The ITC has a statutory duty to ensure impartial coverage of the news. It fails in that duty and it is determined to fail. It seems that the Courts are letting them get away with it. At all events, two competent journalists say it; they give evidence and it seems sound enough to me. The smearing of Neil Hamilton by Mohamed Fayed and The Guardian is covered at Guardian Lies Given that the response from the media has been a news blackout rather than a libel writ the feeling must be that the Grauniad and others are guilty.
PS If you think that the BBC is honest have a look at BBC Bias and have your illusion shattered.

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The Independent Television Commission -
- Anatomy of a British media Regulator

 - the website that exposes how a single newspaper brainwashed the British nation

  Every web page and text document on at-a-glance  




Whilst newspapers are free to report politics as they see fit, various Acts of Parliament since the 1950s have required Britain's broadcasters to cover political controversies impartially.  Since the 1990 Broadcasting Act came into force commercial TV companies have answered to the Independent Television Commission (ITC), whom the Act requires to "do all that they can" to ensure that "due impartiality is preserved on the part of the person providing the service as respects matters of political or industrial controversy"; and also to "draw up.. a code giving guidance as to the rules to be observed".


Map of website & text documents


Website guide


Index to J B Hunt's complaint against Granada TV (13 July 2000)


ITC's rejection of Hunt's complaint
(23 Feb 2001)


The ITC Code, which has statutory force, has an entire section devoted to impartiality, stipulating that "licensees must ensure that justice is done to a full range of significant views and perspectives during which the controversy is active"; and that "in reporting on matters of industrial or political controversy, the main differing views on the matter should be given their due weight in the period during which the controversy is active".


Hunt's appeal
(31 March 2001)


Back in Oct. 1997, after six months' research into the ‘cash for questions’ controversy, freelance journalists Jonathan Boyd Hunt & Malcolm Keith-Hill announced their conclusion that there was no reliable evidence to support the Guardian's allegations that Parliamentary lobbyist Ian Greer and/or former Tory MP Neil Hamilton were corrupt.  However most news organisations ignored Hunt & Keith-Hill’s work - including Manchester-based Granada TV, for whom Hunt had worked as a reporter.  And so, after a further three years' censorship of their investigation, in July 2000 Hunt submitted a substantial complaint against Granada to the ITC.

        ITC Chief Executive Patricia Hodgson    

Transcript of appeal hearing
(27 June 2001)


ITC's rejection of Hunt's appeal
(20 July 2001)


Given that he & his colleague had uncovered proof that the Guardian had framed Greer and Hamilton as part of a sophisticated cover-up after publishing a false story alleging that the lobbyist had corrupted Hamilton and another Tory MP, Hunt considered it to be self-evident that their investigation constituted a most "significant view" and "significant perspective" and by definition a "main differing view", and that accordingly Granada’s deliberate censorship of all news about it constituted a clear breach of the ITC Code and the 1990 Broadcasting Act.


Hunt's response
(6 August 2001)


ITC's closing letter (21 August 2001)


However, seven months later in February 2001 the ITC rejected Hunt's complaint on grounds that a) Granada was entitled not to commission a documentary about their investigation (which is not what Hunt had complained about); b) Granada had aired Hamilton's point of view a number of times (which had not been at issue); and c) Granada was not the only broadcaster not to report their investigation (which is immaterial).  The ITC made no comment about the thoroughness of their work or the importance of their findings, nor took any account of the fact that Hamilton's voice had been all but solitary against the massed ranks of the opposition parties, the media, and Parliament itself.  Accordingly a few weeks later in early April Hunt submitted an appeal, following which the ITC agreed to hold an oral hearing.

        ITC Chairman Sir Robin Biggam  

Hunt's submission to the High Court seeking Judicial Review (skeleton argument)


Hon. Mr Justice Burton's Order


Hunt's 'Statement of Facts' supporting extra Ground for Judicial Review


Subsequently on 27 June at the ITC's London headquarters, Hunt and a supporter Mr. George Gittos gave evidence to a sub-committee made up of the ITC's chairman, Sir Robin Biggam (above right); three other Commission Members; and four staff. 
    During the hearing none of the Members disputed any fact or contention in George Gittos's or Hunt's addresses nor questioned the logic of their arguments.  At the close of proceedings Sir Robin praised the two for their "excellent presentations".
    Four weeks later on 20 July 2001 - over a year after Hunt submitted his complaint - the ITC rejected his appeal on the same specious grounds as before. And so, with no alternative course open to him, on 17 October 2001 Hunt submitted papers to the Royal High Courts of Justice, London, seeking permission to apply for a Judicial Review of the ITC's decision.  After submitting further papers on 3 December, a hearing in open court was listed for 18 January 2002 to decide whether Hunt would be granted permission.


Press reports of the High Court hearing


ITC Code on "due impartiality"


The case was heard in Court 10 by the Honourable Mr. Justice Burton.  Hunt appeared as a litigant in person accompanied by Mr. Norris McWhirter CBE, co-founder of The Guinness Book of World Records and the British Freedom Association.  Mr. Jonathan Moffett represented the ITC.  After listening to two hours of arguments in a hearing originally listed for 30 minutes, Mr. Justice Burton judged that there was indeed a case to be argued that the ITC's decision rejecting Hunt's complaint was 'irrational'.  Accordingly Mr. Justice Burton granted Hunt permission to apply for a Judicial Review of the ITC's decision. 
    Following a full hearing held on 10-11 October, on 6 November 2002 The Honourable Mr Justice Newman dismissed  Hunt's application.
    Believing the judgement to be flawed on several counts, on 19 November J B Hunt submitted an application to the Court of Appeal.

        Granada TV Chairman Charles Allen    

Index to Parliamentary debates that led to the strengthening of broadcasters' legal obligation to report political issues with "due impartiality"


Index to Guardian articles concerning "due impartiality"


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  Skeleton argument to the Court of Appeal of 3         December 2002

This entire website can be downloaded in Rich Text Format (rtf) from the Website Map page.  Individual documents throughout the website can be downloaded by clicking the button in the top left corner of the document's first page