Friday, 10 July 2015 16:14

Media watchdog slams Alan Jones, 2GB over ‘inaccurate’ climate change comments Featured

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Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones has been rapped over the knuckles by the media watchdog ACMA for factually unsupported comments he made two years ago about the rate of warming of the planet due to climate change.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority found that Jones, in a broadcast on radio 2GB in 2013, falsely claimed that a 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report had "disproven" the panel's own climate change theories.

According to Jones, in his broadcast, the United Nations report on climate change "got it wrong by almost 100 per cent." He claimed a previous IPCC report in 2007 stated the planet was warming at the rate of 0.2 degrees every decade, and said the updated report put the figure at 0.12 degrees - "almost a 100 per cent error".

ACMA does say that 2GB conceded that the comments broadcast were inaccurate but submitted they were based on an article from mainstream media (The Australian) and that the inaccuracy was corrected by Jones within two hours of the initial comments – but “in any event, there was a range of credible material that threw doubt on the original article from The Australian.

In its ruling released today, the ACMA has found that Harbour Radio - licensee of 2GB - breached the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2013 after an investigation of the accuracy of the on-air statements by Jones.

The authority said the investigation found that 2GB did not use reasonable efforts to ensure that factual statements made by Jones were “reasonably supportable” as being accurate.

It also found that a “purported correction” by Jones was not adequate and appropriate in all the circumstances and “did not cure the breach.”

The offending segment on Jones’ 2GB breakfast show was aired on 24 September 2013 and, while the investigation report was finalised last year, publication was delayed after Harbour Radio challenged in the Federal Court the ACMA’s power to investigate, and its actual findings.

But, a ruling by the Federal Court in April this year included confirmation that the ACMA has an independent discretion to commence ‘own motion’ investigations under section 170 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, and affirmed the ACMA’s approach to factual accuracy and corrections under the Codes.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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