FIVEaa held in breach over Bob Francis ‘boat people should drown’ tirade

Bob francisControversial South Australian radio host Bob Francis has been reprimanded over two breaches of the commercial radio codes of practice, one of which saw the host tell listeners he hoped asylum-seekers would drown before arriving by boat.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found FIVEaa’s parent company DMG was in breach of the code during two separate broadcasts by Francis in June 2012 which included his declaration about “boat people” drowning and the other an attack on a journalist who criticise his statement.

On  4 June, 2012, during a discussion of the asylum seeker Francis said: “Bugger the boat people I say. As far as I’m concerned I hope they bloody drown out there on their way over here!”

ACMA found the comments conveyed: “a contemptuous disregard for the numerous fatalities that have occurred at sea.”

ACMA also found that a subsequent broadcast on 6 June also “offended standards of decency” after Francis launched an on-air attack on a journalist who had criticised his comments.

According to the ACMA report he said:

“You wanker, [name of journalist].

“Some smart-arse, dickhead woman, [name of journalist], South Australian political reporter for [the newspaper], wrote me up in the paper this morning […].

“Why the hell you said that, you dickhead, I don’t know.

“Can you believe that bloody bitch in [the newspaper] […].

“In her bum.

“Well, tell her to go to buggery for me!

FIVEaa subsequently suspended Francis for six days following a furore over his of the comments. The station also said he had received “additional training” on the code of practice.

In the wake of the breach finding, the ACMA has recommended that Francis make on-air apology be made to the journalist he attacked on air. Francis read an on-air apology to the journalist on the 21st March, 2013.

In its investigation the ACMA found that FIVEaa did not breach the code relating to “the incitement of hatred or serious contempt of a person or group of people on the grounds of nationality or gender” however, it did find the station also breached the complaints-handling provisions of the code.

Nic Christensen


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