On the 8th June, news bulletins on 46 Global owned stations across the UK ended with an item of "Good News", similar to the lighthearted "and finally" news segments on news programmes. The items of news included hedgehogs learning to cross roads safely and a new app to count calories, and were read out by the duty newsreader.
The "Good News" segments were sponsored by mobile network operator Three, as part of its "make it right" campaign.
Ofcom found that the segments broke the requirements of the Broadcasting Act 2003, and its Broadcast Code, which bans commercial references in news bulletins, although commercial association is allowed during "specialist factual strands", such as weather forecasts.
In its ruling against Global Radio, which concluded that all instances breached its rules, Ofcom said:
"The description of such stories as “The Good News” neither made them specialist factual strands within the terms of the Code nor separated them sufficiently from news bulletins. As “The Good News” stories were read by news presenters in and around news bulletins and these items did not comprise specialist factual strands, we concluded that each broadcast of News was in breach of Rule 10.3 of the Code.
"It is of paramount importance that news broadcasts are not, and do not appear to be, subject to commercial influence. Specialist factual strands must be clearly defined and readily distinguishable from news bulletins or news desk presentations if they are to be subject to any commercial arrangement."