2GB and Alan Jones broke broadcast rules with climate change claims, says media watchdog

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.47.13 amMedia watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found Radio 2GB and its breakfast host Alan Jones breached broadcasting rules over statements he made about the rate of global warming in 2013.

The decision comes after a Federal Court fight between the ACMA and 2GB licensee Macquarie Radio, in which the court dismissed claims the media watchdog had exceeded its power in launching investigations into statements made by shockjock Jones.

In a statement this morning the ACMA trumpeted the win, saying: “The ACMA expects that the licensee (indeed all commercial radio licensees) will be guided by the Federal Court’s endorsement of the ACMA’s views on what is an ‘adequate and appropriate’ correction ‘in all the circumstances’.”

The decision is likely to strengthen the ACMA’s hand in forcing suitable corrections after a broadcaster is found in breach of the Codes of Practice.

The ACMA investigation found that 2GB did not use reasonable efforts to ensure that factual statements made by Jones were reasonably supportable as being accurate and also that a purported correction later in the program by Jones was not adequate and appropriate in all the circumstances and so did not “cure” the breach.

The original segment was aired on September 24, 2013, on the Alan Jones Breakfast Show and, while the investigation report was finalised last year, publication was delayed after Macquarie Radio challenged in the Federal Court the ACMA’s power to investigate and its actual findings.

Jones made claims in the segment about climate change using what had already been found to be incorrect reports in The Australian as a source.

The Australian had repeated a story, first covered by the UK’s Mail on Sunday, claiming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had drastically overestimated the extent of global warming and exaggerated rising temperatures. But the report was found to be incorrect, with several newspapers forced to issue retractions and a ruling made against The Australian by The Press Council.

Comment on the breach is being sought from Macquarie Radio.

Nic Christensen 

Nic Christensen is a former employee of Macquarie Radio 


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