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Wednesday, 23 October 2013 13:17

Alan Jones in breach of code, again

Shock jock Alan Jones Shock jock Alan Jones

Alan Jones is in hot water yet again, this time from the communications watchdog for comments about power station closures and climate change.

ACMA has ruled against two broadcasts of 2GB’s Alan Jones Breakfast Show, which it said breached its accuracy obligations.

The regulator found 2GB "did not make reasonable efforts" to ensure the accuracy of comments made by Jones in October 2012 about power station closures. ACMA said the sources relied on by 2GB were contradicted by primary material readily available on the website of the owner of the power stations.

Meanwhile ACMA also ruled against comments made Jones later the same month about salaries paid in the Department of Climate Change, while a third complaint about the accuracy of comments made by Jones soon after concerning the NBN and other matters were found to be "statements of opinion", and the complaint was not upheld.

The ACMA investigation found in relation to Jones’s statement and opinions that about the NBN that:

“‘(these) were inherently subjective’ statements.
“Mr Jones used ‘exaggerated and emotive terms such as “white elephant”, “disaster” and “hopelessly”’.
“The ‘overall impression [was] of rhetorical pronouncements rather than factual material’.
“‘The delivery was emotional; the language judgmental and hyperbolic; and the statements lacking in specificity’.

In response to the second charge, 2GB said it was not obliged to respond to a complaint it considered "frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the complaints process," but ACMA did not accept this submission as the Codes require licensees to provide a substantive response to a complaint, including information about the complainant’s right to refer the matter to ACMA.

The regulator found that 2GB was obliged to give a substantive response and breached the code when it failed to do so.

Remedial measures have yet to be decided.

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