Andrew Neil has denied GB News will be like America’s Fox News, and pledged that those who spread ‘fake news’ will face disciplinary action.
GB News – the UK’s first new news channel in 30 years – is set to launch this Sunday, with journalists including former BBC newsreader Simon McCoy, former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart, presenter Kirsty Gallacher, The Apprentice’s Michelle Dewberry and former The Sun executive editor Dan Wootton signed up to the team.
Since the project was announced, critics suggested that the channel would be a British version of Fox News, which has become increasingly right-wing in recent years, platforming pro-Trump voices and defending conspiracy theories.
However, Neil, who is chairman of GB News and will be hosting a nightly show, has denied that the channels will only be similar in format.
The 72-year-old told the Evening Standard: ‘That is an easy, inaccurate shorthand for what we are trying to do. In terms of format we are like Fox but we won’t be like Fox in that they come from a hard right disinformation fake news conspiracy agenda.
‘I have worked too long and hard to build up a journalistic reputation to consider going down that route.’
He added that there is a ‘strong editorial charter written into everybody’s contracts saying that if they spread fake news and conspiracy theories they will face disciplinary action’.
However, GB News will follow the American style of a channel built around anchors and news programmes rather than rolling news, with Neil heading up a nightly programme with ‘Woke Watch’ and ‘Media Watch’ segments.
Wootton, Dewberry, McCoy, Colin Brazier, Alex Phillips, Mercy Muroki, Gloria De Piero and Liam Halligan will also front shows, while Kirsty Gallacher will be one of the hosts of the Great British Breakfast.
Despite speculation that Piers Morgan would sign on to the channel after leaving Good Morning Britain, he has yet to climb aboard, although it has confirmed he is having ongoing talks with the channel.
Neil has placed emphasis on GB News being ‘more non-metropolitan’ and ‘more provincial’ than its rivals, saying that the channel is for people ‘who think the existing channels don’t quite represent how they see things’.
The launch of GB News has seen Neil return from the Cote d’Azur, where he has been for the past year with his wife Susan Nilsson.
GB News launches at 8pm on June 13.