ACMA rules 2GB and Alan Jones were in breach, again

ALan JonesThe media watchdog has again ruled against Radio 2GB, over comments made in the Alan Jones Breakfast Show in two, separate, broadcasts.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found the licencee Harbour Radio, which runs Radio 2GB, did not make reasonable efforts to ensure comments made by Jones on 17 October 2012 about power station closures and the comments made by Mr Jones on 23 October 2012 about salaries paid in the Department of Climate Change were accurate.

In regards, to the power station closure comments, 2GB relied on sources which were contradicted by primary material readily available on the website of the owner of the power stations and “there was no evidence of 2GB’s efforts to ensure the accuracy of the comments.”

ACMA found a third complaint relating to the accuracy of comments made by Jones on 29 October 2012 concerning the NBN were “statements of opinion”.

The ACMA investigation also found in relation to Jones’s statement and opinions that:

“‘(these) were inherently subjective’ statements.

“Mr Jones used ‘exaggerated and emotive terms such as “white elephant”, “disaster” and “hopelessly”’.

“The ‘overall impression [was] of rhetorical pronouncements rather than factual material’.

“‘The delivery was emotional; the language judgmental and hyperbolic; and the statements lacking in specificity’.

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman ruled out any chance of Harbour Radio losing its licence, he told Mumbrella: “We’re in discussions with the licensee about remedial measures and it’s not appropriate to say anything further about those discussions until they’re concluded.”

Radio 2GB was also found to have breached its complaints-handling obligations. In response to complaints against broadcasts covering coal-seam gas mine approval, government expenditure and the US economy in October, 2GB submitted that it was “not obliged to respond to a complaint it considered frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the complaints process.”

ACMA did not accept this, as the Codes require licensees to provide a substantiative response to a complaint.

A second complaint, regarding comments made in relation to the NBN, was said to have not been received by Radio 2GB however the complainant provided ACMA with a fax transmission report proving the complaint had been successfully sent to the station.

This is not the first time the authority has found Jones in breach. In October last year 2GB was forced to temporarily hire fact-checker to review scripts by his radio station’s producers before going to air.

Earlier this month, Jones’s morning counterpart Ray Hadley was also found to have breached accuracy standards.

Miranda Ward 


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