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ASA clears Fox News "balanced" claim

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News Corporation is free to claim its Fox News channel is "fair and balanced" in adverts describing the service, the Advertising Standards Agency has ruled.

Two people complained after the media giant placed adverts celebrating its achievements in the British national press.

The advert was headed "defying conventional wisdom for six decades" and said: "Time and again, they said it couldn't be done. Time and again, we did it. In the process, we've given new choices to billions of people around the world."

In a timeline of News Corp's milestones, it said: "1996... Fox News Channel, pioneer of fair and balanced news coverage, is born. Today, it dominates cable news in the US."

Two complainants told the ASA the channel was not a "pioneer" because news channels had already existed. One said the ad was misleading because he believed its coverage was not "fair and balanced".

The channel is perceived to promote right-wing viewpoints and is often accused of lacking balance.

The ASA said: "We noted some people considered that Fox did not provide fair and balanced news coverage. We considered, however, that 'fair and balanced' would be seen as News Corporation's opinion of the service they provided rather than an objective claim.

"We also considered that readers were likely to understand the claim 'pioneer of fair and balanced news coverage' as a reference to the channel being the first to provide what the advertisers considered to be 'fair and balanced' coverage, rather than a reference to Fox being the first dedicated news channel."

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