This is regulation. This is why it is needed. This is how it works to DEFEND democracy, by ensuring free speech is not just a cover for lies.

Posted: October 18, 2012 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
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Alan Jones of 2GB

“Who needs basic training as a journalist?” “Er, that’d be me, Sir.”

Controversial broadcaster (and thoroughly nasty man) Alan Jones has been ordered to undergo basic journalism training by Australia’s media watchdog.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says Jones will have to undertake training on “factual accuracy and significant viewpoints” as part of measures agreed with his station 2GB.

The shock jock has been deserted by sponsors and advertisers after telling a Young Liberals conference that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father had “died of shame” because of his daughter’s “lies”.

But ACMA acted after finding that Jones breached commercial radio codes of practice in a statement he made about carbon dioxide emissions in March last year.

The ruling states that Jones said on air:

“Remembering all this when the percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air. Nature produces nearly all of the carbon dioxide in the air. Human beings produce 0.001 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the air and Australians produce 1 per cent of that. That’s 1 per cent of .001 is .00001 per cent of the air. 1/100000th.”

ACMA ruled that an ordinary reasonable listener would have understood the material as a statement of fact, not opinion. (If only Americans had the same protection from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.)

It said 2GB has not provided evidence that it or Mr Jones had taken any steps to ensure the statement was accurate.

It said it had agreed a list of new measures with 2GB which Jones would have to stick to in the future.

A said the measures included:

  • Pre-broadcast fact-checking by the program’s executive producer of any material provided by non-media sources or third parties which may require additional confirmation and attribution.
  • Creation and retention (for at least six weeks) of records of the verification material sourced by the executive producer for the facts contained in the editorial piece.
  • Identification by the executive producer of controversial issues of public importance that are not covered by other 2GB current affairs programs. Communication of these exceptions to 2GB’s program director who will then be responsible to ensure that another current affairs program presents an alternative, significant viewpoint to that presented in the program hosted by Alan Jones so that 2GB can discharge its obligations under the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.
  • Creation and retention of records by the program director for the above steps.

ACMA also said that: “Training will be conducted [including with Alan Jones] focussing on the ACMA’s findings concerning factual accuracy and significant viewpoints.”

It ordered him to complete the training by the end of November 2012.

Jones is yet to comment on the ACMA ruling.

You see, that’s Government, right there. That’s democratic control of the media. That is not censorship, domination, bullying or any other nonsense implying restriction of freedom of speech. That is the law demanding those with access to the airwaves can say whatever they like provided only that they tell the truth.

Amen.

(Yahoo and others)

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Comments
  1. Michelle says:

    That is Censorship! Requiring that other presenters provide opposing viewpoints is in fact a form of censorship as they are required to give an alternative opinion to Alan Jones whether they agree with it or not. Directing someone to give an opposing viewpoint when they don’t agree with it and not allowing them to give the same viewpoint as Alan Jones is not freedom of speech!

    Like

    • Well I don’t read it that way, I read it as ensuring the station presents a diversity of opinions as part of their charter. Public broadcasting as a privilege not a right. Interesting point though, which I will consider carefully 🙂

      Like

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