An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today found 2GB in breach of broadcasting rules due to inaccurate comments Alan Jones made about climate change. ACMA also breached 2GB over decency rules because of comments by the retiring broadcaster regarding Jacinda Ardern.
ACMA received more than 125 complaints about a broadcast by Jones in 2019.
Jones made several statements regarding the New Zealand Prime Minister that ACMA determined offended generally accepted community standards of decency.
“I just wonder whether Scott Morrison’s going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.”
“Now, I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders.”
“I hope he goes for the throat this morning.”
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said these comments were inappropriate for Australian public radio broadcasting.
“The repeated use of violent metaphors by Mr Jones and his apparent encouragement of aggressive silencing of Ms Ardern was highly offensive and did not meet contemporary community expectations.
“This was evident in the public display of outrage from the community, actions by advertisers and actions by then chairman of Macquarie Media.”
Macquarie’s then-chairman stated at the time that any recurrence would result in the termination of Jones’ contract.
“Acknowledging that the broadcast caused offence to many in the community, 2GB did not oppose ACMA’s breach finding in relation to decency.”
Jones previously made an on-air apology on the day of the broadcast. The following day, he made an on-air clarification and sent a written apology to Ms Ardern.
The licensee also advised ACMA at the time that it ‘counselled’ Jones.
“Given the imminent retirement of Mr Jones from 2GB and the actions taken by Macquarie Media and Mr Jones at the time, the ACMA is not taking further action against the licensee for breach of the decency rules.”
The ACMA’s investigation also statements made by Jones in a segment about climate change policy were inaccurate.
Jones that biomass is a fossil fuel. Further, he misrepresented Australia’s and New Zealand’s percentage of energy use from solar and wind. The ACMA found that these comparisons were not based on like-for-like data.
Ms O’Loughlin said the broadcasting industry code required reasonable efforts to ensure the presentation of accurate facts.
“The factual error and inconsistent information were used to incorrectly portray that Australia generates more of its energy from renewables than New Zealand.”
ACMA said 2GB will incorporate investigation findings into future staff training.
Jones recently announced his retirement from radio due to medical advice. However, many noted the huge loss of advertising revenue 2GB suffered because of his comments.
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