I have to say, I was slightly surprised to discover that James Whale had been sacked by TalkSport for saying “I back Boris” during the course of one of his shows. Whale’s sacking contrasted starkly with TalkSport’s other “shock jock”, George Galloway: who was specifically rapped by OFCOM for precisely the same offence. Galloway, however, remains in his job. However, in TalkSport’s defence, they might well feel that they need to act swiftly against a broadcaster who repeated Galloway’s breach of the OFCOM rules. If Galloway gets himself into trouble with OFCOM in the future, I’m sure TalkSport will give him his marching orders as well.
Which brings me to this:
“During his three hours on air, Mr Galloway receives around 1,000 emails and texts from listeners.
Extraordinarily — and uniquely for a presenter — at the end of the show, he and the producer collect up the printed emails and he is then allowed to take them out of the building.
Why? Here’s the answer.
His party then contacts the email address wanting to know if they would like to receive more information about Galloway and his party.
This, of course, is punishable under the Privacy and Electronic Regulation Act, as it’s a form of spamming and could lead to a fine of £5,000.
But, of course, it’s much more serious than that.
It’s clearly in Mr Galloway’s interest to peddle his personal manifesto during his show — after all, he is the Respect Party — so that those who email in are already like-minded.
So, in effect, he is using a show as a recruiting sergeant.
Strangely, there is nothing the media regulator Ofcom could do about it, as there have been no broadcasting rules broken.”
This is the view of former Sun editor, Kelvin MacKenzie.
If he is correct, and Galloway is spamming his listeners with invitations to join RESPECT, this is pretty shoddy behaviour. Disgruntled listeners shouldn’t be fussing to OFCOM. They should be directing their complaints to the correct authority: the Information Commissioner, who has jurisdiction to take enforcement action against spammers.