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3rd October 2019, 13:56

The GRA finds in GBC's favour on a complaint by independent candidate Robert Vasquez

The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority has found in GBC's favour after reviewing a formal complaint by independent electoral candidate, Robert Vasquez. Mr Vasquez had accused GBC of bias, unfairness and lack of impartiality, claiming undue prominence was given to the three parties contesting the election, with this favouring their candidates and working against the independents. However, GBC had stated its belief that allowing the Independents to take part in Election Campaign television and radio debates on an equal footing with parties that are able to form a Government, would create a scenario that could have serious repercussions.

Independent candidate, Robert Vasquez, had argued his main area of complaint related to his exclusion from programmes dealing with the issue of democracy, adding this is his main campaign issue. He said he believed the decision went against the Regulatory Code and potentially breached legal requirements and guidelines.

For its part, GBC said it was satisfied that it had provided the Independents with plenty of airtime, on television and radio news bulletins, as well as on the special Election 2019 programming, which it felt was adequate for the level of support they enjoy in the public domain, as mandated by the GRA Code. The Corporation said it must fulfil its functions on what it editorially feels is right and fair.

The complaint and response were reviewed by the GRA, which has found that there has been no breach of the Broadcasting Act or the GRA code. In its conclusion, the GRA said it not accept GBC's counter-argument that there would be a breach of the Code if Mr Vasquez were allowed to participate. However, it said sufficient air time had been given to the independent candidates, and that this was ultimately a matter of editorial judgement for GBC.