Television

Sky News Nears ‘Make Debates Happen’ Target


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Sky News’ petition to make televised general election debates between party leaders is nearing the 100,000 signatures it requires for a debate in Parliament.

The petition, which is available for any UK resident to sign, is at nearly 95,000 signatures as of 10:30am GMT on Wednesday. It is widely expected to meet its target threshold during the same day.

The petition, started by Sky News’ Director of News-gathering and Operations, Johnathan Levy asks; “Genuine leaders’ debates took place in 2010, but in the next two elections didn’t happen. Amend election law to make party leaders take part in a televised debate.”

The government responded to the petition after it reached its first milestone of 10,000 signatures, saying; “Televised election debates are not mandatory under electoral law. Participating in a televised election debate is down to the discretion of the political party invited to debate. The Government has no plans to change electoral law to make televised elections debates mandatory.

“There are many mediums used by political parties to convey their message to members of the public. These include candidate hustings and political canvassing, which enables electoral candidates to debate policies and directly address members of the public in the run up to an election. These are also not mandatory under electoral law.

“Any televised material, including televised election debates, is regulated by Ofcom, the independent media regulator, and is subject to the provisions in the Broadcasting Code. Ofcom does not obligate broadcasters to transmit election debates, nor does it have any decision-making role over the editorial format of any programme.”

News on News supports the movement my Sky News for mandatory televised leaders’ debates in the United Kingdom. The petition can be signed here.