A joint statement from the broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky claimed that:
"22 million people watched the election debates in 2010".
This figure has been quoted in recent news coverage on the issue of televised leaders' debates for 2015, and makes it sound like 35% of the 62.8 million people living in the UK in 2010 watched the debates.
The true number of distinct viewers is likely to be smaller than this. According to figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB), the three debates had an estimated audience of 22.7 million in total. But 22.7 million viewers across three debates is not the same as 22.7 million people watching them: many will have tuned in to more than one debate.
Full Fact wants to see greater accountability for public figures who mislead us—and we need your help.
Political debate in the UK is in flux right now. The UK’s exit from the European Union is approaching, we will soon have a new prime minister and potentially a general election.
We want politicians to tell the truth, and while the best politicians realise that their work should be done honestly, some aren't taking their responsibilities seriously. Both sides in the EU referendum campaign let voters down, from deceptively designed leaflets to some of the arguments made on each side. The public rightly expects more from politicians.
We want to see greater accountability for public figures who mislead. Full Fact will continue to advocate for higher standards and call out those who don't uphold them.
But we rely on the generosity of our supporters to make sure we can spot the most harmful misinformation when we most need to.
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