FACT CHECK: Facebook Post Claims The UK ‘Discontinued’ Fox News’ Broadcasting License And ‘Threw Them Out’

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the U.K. government “discontinued” Fox News’ broadcasting license and “threw them out.”

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

Fox News chose to surrender its U.K. broadcasting license in 2017, according to respective statements from the Office of Communications and Fox News. Check Your Fact previously debunked the claim that Fox News isn’t available in Canada.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post reads, “Time for the FCC to pull Faux New’s license! U.K. discontinued Fox’s license & threw them out, & Canada won’t grant Fox a license to operate there. We need to do this!” (RELATED: Did Fox News Change Its Accreditation From ‘News’ To ‘Entertainment’?)

While the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which regulates television and broadcasting in the U.K., did find Fox News to be in violation of some rules on occasions in the past, the U.K. government did not “throw out” Fox News. In late August 2017, 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News at the time, announced it would stop broadcasting in the U.K. due to low viewership, The Washington Post reported. The company said in a statement to CNN at the time that the network “averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.” and that it “concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News” there.

Fox News surrendered its license to Ofcom in early November 2017, BBC News reported. A November 2017 bulletin from Ofcom also states the network voluntarily “surrendered its License.” Ofcom also said in November 2017 that Fox News had violated the regulatory body’s impartiality rules, though that ruling came out after the network had already surrendered its license, according to BBC News. The U.K. regulatory entity previously stated in June 2017 that 21st Century Fox qualified as “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting license, while also raising concerns in connection to allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and anchor Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, CNN reported.

“Fox News decided to stop broadcasting in the U.K. on 29 August 2017, surrendered its license to Ofcom on 1 November 2017,” Harry Rippon, a senior media relations manager at Ofcom, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact. “This was a decision taken by Fox News, as confirmed by the statement the organisation issued at the time, which is carried by several media outlets, including BBC News and the Guardian.”

Check Your Fact has previously debunked the claim that Fox News isn’t available in Canada. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the federal entity that regulates television and other forms of broadcasting in Canada, includes Fox News, Fox Business Network and FOX Sports Racing on its “Revised list of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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