ACMA finds Alan Jones breached broadcasting rules | radioinfo

ACMA finds Alan Jones breached broadcasting rules

Thursday 21 May, 2020

Alan Jones has provided an on-air correction following an ACMA investigation that found the licensee of radio station 2GB in breach of broadcasting rules due to inaccurate comments he made about climate change.
 
2GB was also found to have breached decency rules in relation to comments made by Mr Jones regarding New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
 
The ACMA received more than 125 complaints about a broadcast of The Alan Jones Breakfast Show that went to air in 2019.

Samples of the complaints include:

On Thursday 15 August 2019 in his morning radio show, Alan Jones said Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down the throat” of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. This continues Jones [p]attern of advocating violence against women, especially female politicians whose mainstream reasonable views he does not agree with. For example, Mr Jones previously said (2011) Julia Gillard should be put in a “chaff bag” and thrown in the sea...

Alan Jones advocated most forcefully that Australian PM Scott Morrison commit an act of violence on NZ PM Jacinda Ardern by urging him to "shove a sock down her throat". This follows similar acts of violence advocated again former PM Julia Gillard, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, Louise Herron. 2GB has responded to my complaint (attached) by rejecting my complaint on all 3 codes of practice. Yet their response is completely inconsistent...

Alan Jones' comment "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat" in regard to Jacinda Ardern is an incitement to gratuitous violence and brutality against Ardern and against women in general, code provision 2.1.1...

I have made a written complaint to radio station 2GB regarding Alan Jones' well publicised comments about New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and I find 2GB's response inadequate... 2GB's specious argument that Jones has not breached code 2.1.4 because he does not directly reference Ardern's gender during his misogynous and verbally violent attack on her deserves testing by the ACMA given his history of such behaviour and the implicit gendered violence in his expressed hatred, contempt and ridicule for Ardern. Jones public apology in no way indicates that he is cognizant of or remorseful for the grievous consequences of his language...

 
Over the course of the broadcast, Jones made several statements regarding Ms Ardern that the ACMA has determined offended against generally accepted community standards of decency.  These statements included:

‘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 says these comments are not appropriate for public radio broadcasting in today’s Australia. “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,” says O’Loughlin.

“This was evident in the public display of outrage from the community, actions by advertisers and actions by then chairman of Macquarie Media who publicly stated any recurrence of this type of comment would result in the termination of Mr Jones’ contract.

 “Acknowledging that the broadcast had caused offence to many in the community, 2GB did not oppose ACMA’s breach finding in relation to decency.”
 
Mr Jones also made an on-air apology on the same day as the broadcast, an on-air clarification the following day and a written apology to Ms Ardern. The licensee also advised the ACMA it had counselled Mr 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,” said Ms O’Loughlin.
 
The ACMA’s investigation also found a number of statements made in a segment about climate change policy were not accurate.
 
These included an incorrect assertion by Mr Jones that biomass is a fossil fuel, and the incorrect presentation of figures relating to 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.

In regards to his innacurate comments, Jones made a public apology on 2GB this morning at around 7:40:

"On August 15 last year I spoke about Australia's record of climate on climate change. I mentioned fossil fuels and biomass in a way that the regulator, 2GB's regulator, the Media regulator, ACMA thought, suggested that biomass was a fossil fuel. I knew and know that biomass is not a fossil fuel. I've made that point many times in the past. I didn't have any complaints about this at the time or I would have corrected it straight away. Biomass is not a fossil fuel, it is the burning of organic matter such as trees and wood. Fossil fuels of course are derived from fossilized organic matter and biomass is not fossilised. That's why biomass is considered a renewable even though it's widely considered to be dirtier than some fossil fuels.

 

 "In that broadcast I also relied on data concerning New Zealand's reliance on solar and wind sources of energy. I said that New Zealand gets 0.93 per cent of its energy from solar and wind sources while Australia gets twelve point one per cent of its energy from these sources. Having had a closer look at the statistics the correct electricity generation data should have been 10.8 per cent for Australia and 4.7 per cent for New Zealand. When you look at all renewables, New Zealand generates more of its energy from renewable sources than does Australia."

Ms O’Loughlin said broadcasters have a responsibility under their own industry code to use reasonable efforts to ensure the facts they are presenting are accurate. The report also referenced other guidelines about Responsible Reporting of Domestic Violence and the Portrayal of Women on commercial radio.

“The factual error and inconsistent information were used to incorrectly portray that Australia generates more of its energy from renewables than New Zealand.”
 
In addition to the on-air correction of the factually incorrect statements by Mr Jones, 2GB will incorporate the investigation findings into future training for staff.
 
The full investigation report can be found on the ACMA website, including relevant excerpts of the transcript and details of the complaints.
 


 


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1 Comments

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Anthony The Koala
21 May 2020 - 11:18am
This is not about the controversial remarks against former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the passing of Mr Gillard "....dying of shame...." nor about putting her "...in a chaff bag....(and)...putting it out to sea..." Neither is it about shouting at the CEO of the Opera House for not advertising a horse race on the sails of the Opera House. Nor is about mobilising people to attack a particular religious and racial group at the beach.

The recently published report by the ACMA has a similar vein of using words of violence towards a person such as "....shoving a sock down her throat..." of the NZ PM in front of the PM of Australia. The report mentions racist language of imputing all the citizens of Tuvalu as having a cargo cult mentality.

Clearly if there is a problem with government policy or Opera House policy or the policies of another government, it should be a criticism of the policy not the person or the people. For example, Mr Jones' criticism of the PM of Tuvalu should have been a criticism of the policy of Tuvalu in regards the contradictory nature of needing to address climate change and allowing carbon dioxide emitting jet planes landing on Tuvalu. That should have been criticised. It was totally unnecessary and hurtful to impute the policies on the people of Tuvalu.

It is in Australia's interest that we maintain a good relationship with our Pacific Island neighbours rather than alienating them and with the result of the country seeking assistance from other nations. Criticise the policy.

We know that Alan does not believe in "climate change". During the pandemic it was reported that carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 17% due to reduced economic activity, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/19/lockdowns-trigger-dramatic-fall-global-carbon-emissions.

This would have presented Alan with the question, "...mmmm....carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 17%....what has been the corresponding change in temperature?...." That would have been a perfectly valid question since reductions in carbon dioxide should result in a reduction in temperature.

He did not ask that question on air. It could have been a feast on attacking that issue of "....there was a 17% drop in CO2 emissions....WHERE'S THE DROP IN THE TEMPERATURE?"

I have written to him about drop in CO2 emissions. Even though he says that he answers all emails, he didn't address this issue nor answer email when I raised that question.

Even several years ago before the issue of the prohibitive cost of producing Aluminium was even on Alan's radar, I raised that issue that Aluminium production requires a lot of energy based on the chemistry of the bonds of Aluminium Oxide and its variants. He never answered that email. (I wished I had a copy of the email sent that time).

Despite Alan's on-air foibles, they pale into insignificance compared to his broadcasting career. In this instance, Alan's broadcasting career is not like the game of "snakes and ladders". Alan's minor foibles should not be the snakes that diminish his achievements.

We know Alan's narrative. It is generally consistent and well- researched and tilts towards the conservative side of politics. One does not necessarily have to agree with everything he said. For me I disagree with his downplay of the current covid19 epidemic and his lack of understanding of mathetical modelling.

Disagree or agree with Alan or any media commentator that does not accord with your values, we need these commentators in the overall discourse of issues. Australia's media is diverse and does not necessarily reflect a particular political party's or economist's views.

Thank you,
Anthony of I finally got that out of my system, Belfield
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