Ofcom rules will almost certainly foil Nadine Dorries’ plan to use I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as a platform to promote her views on abortion.
The Mid-Bedfordshire MP had claimed that the show will be a better forum than parliament to air her advocacy of reducing abortion time limits from 24 to 20 weeks:
“I’m doing the show because 16 million people watch it. Rather than MPs talking to other MPs about issues in Parliament, I think MPs should be going to where people go.
“I’m not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions. There are certain causes that I’m interested in, one of which is ’20 Weeks’.
“I will be talking about this issue around the campfire. I hope there will be some lively, heated debates.”
But having been elected in 2005, Dorries is apparently unfamiliar with the Communications Act 2003, which sets out legal requirements for impartiality that will almost certainly scupper Dorries’ desire for fireside pro-life propaganda. As Ofcom’s states programmes must adhere to ‘due impartiality’:
Impartiality itself means not favouring one side over another. “Due” means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme.
Included in the impartiality requirements are:
“matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy”
which Ofcom defines as:
“political or industrial issues on which politicians, industry and/or the media are in debate.”
Dorries has fallen into the same trap as George Galloway, who appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and gave synonymous reasons for entering on the show:
“I believe that politicians should use every opportunity to communicate with people, I’m a great believer in the democratic process. Big Brother is watched by millions.”
Although the official line up is yet to be announced, Dorries has already flown to Australia – after only realising three weeks ago she actually had to go to a real jungle.
Scrapbook nevertheless looks forward to the ‘Bush Tucker Trial’ which, for those unfamiliar with the format, involves contestants eating fare such as witchetty grubs, live beachworms and, errr, kangaroo testicles.