tip off

Jones failed ‘reasonable efforts’ test, but chaff bag OK

Alan Jones did not breach the radio industry’s code of conduct or his broadcaster’s licence conditions when he said five times that Julia Gillard should be “put in a chaff bag” and dumped at sea, the broadcasting regulator has found. But it does say Jones made no effort to check his claims about the human carbon contribution to the atmosphere, and his broadcaster, 2GB, must improve its processes for fact-checking or face a licence condition.

ACMA this morning announced that it had found that Jones’ “chaff bag” comments in June and July 2011, also directed at Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore and then-Greens leader Bob Brown, did not incite violence or hatred based on age, gender, race or other characteristics.

It was clear that the comments were not genuine invitations to violent behaviour but were figures of speech intended to cursorily dismiss the political policies of the Prime Minister … Whilst disparaging and disrespectful, they were not strong, intense or inflammatory enough to be capable of being construed as urging violence or brutality.”

ACMA also found that the Prime Minister’s gender (or that of other figures attacked by Jones, such as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young) had not formed the basis for Jones’ abuse, merely their policies. ACMA did, however, find that 2GB had (by its own admission) failed to satisfy complaints-handling requirements with its cursory treatment of complaints about Jones’ comments.

But in a decision with broader ramifications for the industry, ACMA found that Jones had failed to meet the radio industry code of practice requirements that broadcasters undertake “reasonable efforts” to ensure that factual material was “supportable as being accurate” in a current affairs program. In comments that were later savaged by Jonathan Holmes on Media Watch, Jones said on air in March 2011, during one of his many rants about carbon pricing, that “human beings produce 0.001% of the carbon dioxide in the air”. The correct figure is 3%.

Embarrassingly for Jones, a climate denialist who insists climate change is “witchcraft” unsupported by science, ACMA’s investigation states that 2GB admitted that Jones himself had devised the figure and not bothered having it checked:

The licensee submitted to the ACMA that it discharges the ‘reasonable efforts’ obligation by providing production resources and researchers and writers to its presenters in the preparation of programming content. However, the licensee advised that no research was conducted by staff and that Mr Jones researched the figures himself. The ACMA sought additional clarification and supporting documentation in relation to the type of research conducted by Mr Jones, and the outcome of his research; however, the licensee did not respond to this query.”

As a result, ACMA found that reasonable efforts had not been made as required under the code of practice. 2GB must now report back on how it will improve its compliance with the “reasonable efforts” requirement.

Separately, ACMA found that the code of practice requirement for current affairs programs that “reasonable efforts” are made to present “significant viewpoints” when dealing with controversial issues had not been breached, on the basis that while there was no effort made to provide alternative viewpoints on Jones’ program, opportunities were given or offered for the airing of other views on other 2GB programs, and specifically the Chris Smith afternoons program —  i.e. 2GB had met the “significant requirements” viewpoint across the schedule, if not in Jones’ program.

The outcome is likely to see further criticism of ACMA’s complaints-handling process given the length of time taken to resolve the complaints about Jones, although much of the delay was the result of foot-dragging by 2GB, which was still submitting material as late as April, almost a year after some of the broadcasts.

The regulator is also likely to come under fire for failing to impose a licence condition on the broadcaster as a result of the “reasonable efforts” breach, but ACMA’s view is that there is no evidence of a systemic problem at the broadcaster. This partly reflects the fact that the “reasonable efforts” requirement is relatively new, having only been introduced in 2010 when the industry’s code of practice was overhauled.

As for Alan Jones’ prime ministerial chaff bag, ACMA is again likely to wear the opprobrium of people who see its job as policing the airwaves for offensiveness alone, rather than the altogether more serious issue of incitement to violence or hatred.

76
  • 1
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Right, so it’s okay to incite hatred in broad and general terms, just so long as it’s not based anything specific.
    Well, I’m sure the shock jocks will take the appropriate lessons from this.

  • 2
    The Pav
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the geadline should be ACMA fails again.

    Using the same terms of reference on why did the ABC appologise to Morrison

  • 3
    Peter
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    no evidence of a systemic problem at the broadcaster.”

    LOL.

  • 4
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Mrs Jones won’t be happy until ruddy faced shouting is our new national language, the speaker is renamed the shouter and Hansard is recorded in capital letters.

  • 5
    drmick
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Unbelievable isn’t it? Jones could have written that rubbish from ACMA himself. I am not unconvinced that he did not write the response for them.
    Thanks to a rogue magistrate in Sydney, calling Police effing cees is OK. According to this mob, threatening the PM is OK. A known nut bag and convicted racist complains about one of his racist friends being called racist, and gets an apology.
    Where does it stop?

  • 6
    lindsayb
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    CSIRO cape grim data says CO2 increased from 330ppm in 1977 to 389ppm in 2011. That looks like a nearly 20% increase in 3 decades, not 0.0001% or 3%, increasing at approx 0.3% per year.

  • 7
    lindsayb
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    No surprise that ACMA has handed down another weak cop-out of a decision though. They have “form”.

  • 8
    Ronson Dalby
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The ACMA is as much a toothless tiger as is the ACCC; two organisations that are there too make it look as though ‘something’s being done’.

  • 9
    Steve777
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    3% not 0.001%. Well we’re not going to worry about a factor of 3,000 are we. Looks as though the ‘research’ was to make up a number that fitted the argument. Why would anyone take this clown seriously?

  • 10
    drmick
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The Convoy of Incontinence took him seriously S777. If his mathematical overestimation is consistent, then there would still only be 3001 Depend wrappers under the w*tch Bank? sign.

  • 11
    Coaltopia
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    +1 every comment above.

    Perhaps I can stand on a street corner and suggest the same thing for the leader of the opposition - I’m sure they won’t be considered “strong, intense or inflammatory enough”.

  • 12
    davidk
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    People should stop criticising ACMA. After all it’s only doing what it was set up to do, NOTHING!

  • 13
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, why bother? It’s obvious that Jones’ audience does not listen to him for facts (FFS!), and if inciting violence to the PM is just a ‘point of view’ then all language, as far as the “Regulator” is concerned is somehow interchangeable.

    In which case “Regulator” now means “Useless Waste of Tax Payers’ Money”, or UWOTPM for short.

  • 14
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Do we really have to have our own Breivik or Loughner, before someone puts the foot down on these poisonous puff-adders for inciting what they do?
    Cronulla wasn’t enough?

  • 15
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Some people say many years ago a man called Jones was seen hanging around a London public toilet is that the same Jones?

  • 16
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Was he hanging out?

  • 17
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see a howling mob of irate blue-rinsed North Shore pensioners forming a lynch mob and traveling in a convoy of Mercs across the bridge to drag Clover from Town Hall urged on by Jonesy.

    The great mystery here is why anyone takes him or Hadley seriously. Surely they are just preaching the converted and a very small minority lot at that.

  • 18
    Merve
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    What if someone was to say on radio that they thought Tony Abbott should be shot? What’s the difference between than and drowning at sea.

  • 19
    drmick
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Klewso. In a society that will only put traffic lights up at an intersection after 3 fatalities have occurred and make apologies for people who tell the truth, to people who don’t know how to tell the truth, then the taxi driver and the vegemite vandal fit perfectly.

  • 20
    robinw
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Jones can make a throw away line about dumping the PM out to sea in a chaff bag while others have to apologise about calling a bloke racist who to all intents and purposes could most certainly be.

    In one case it is the commercial media calling for the drowning of the PM while on the other it is the ABC hosting the bad mouthing(?) guest. It just goes to demonstrate that all comment is OK if you have the cash to protect it, otherwise too bad matey! Money speaking again.

  • 21
    Ian
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Some people say many years ago a man called Jones was seen hanging around a London public toilet is that the same Jones?

    Ask Chopper Read.

  • 22
    fredex
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Its a sick joke … on us.

  • 23
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Merve the difference between, what Jones said on air, a figure of speech, which according to ACMA did not incite violence or hatred based on age, gender, race or other characteristics. And “Tony Abbott should be shot” is clear enough to me. When people like MICHAEL DE ANGELOS Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink writes about preaching to a very small minority. Let me point out to Crikey readers politicians are a very small minority among the rest of us! Edward James

  • 24
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    KLEWSO
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
    Was he hanging out?
    Are you inviting Crikey readers nationally to be biased on the basis of a persons perceived sexuality? I am just asking Crikey readers as I thought that sort of thing was illegal. Edward James

  • 25
    returnedman
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry - what was hanging out, exactly?

  • 26
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it was his zipper! You silly gronk. Edward James

  • 27
    Sharkie
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    And what exactly will Alan do about this negative finding?

    I’m tipping the following.

    1. Deny he did anything wrong
    2. Abuse ACMA. (and chuck in the ABC and Fairfax, the Greens and GilLIAR for good measure)
    3. Claim it’s all a free speech conspiracy aimed to silence him.
    4. Play the victim
    5. Do it all again.

  • 28
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    That lettuce leaf is getting quite the workout lately.

  • 29
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    @ DRMICK Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink In a society that will only put traffic lights up at an intersection after 3 fatalities have occurred. We must wonder how we are expected to pick the difference between the vegemite vandal and Kevin’s ID as the Milky Bar Kid. Edward James 0243419140

  • 30
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    LITTLEMATHS
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
    Huh? Fig leaf perhaps? How is it five people die wrongful deaths at Piles Creek Somersby NSW and all the political active people in our communities, various party members and supporters get struck deaf dumb and blind? What has Alan Jones sexuality got to do with the fact none of us are well represented, Labor, Liberal, National, Greens and Independents? Edward James 0243419140

  • 31
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Edward, you don’t need to repeat your name at the bottom of your comments: it already appears at the top. This is the structure of Internet comments when you login using your real name. Nor is it wise to include your phone number, since it will almost instantly appear on world-wide phreaking lists, but that’s up to you.

    I agree about Breivik and the person who shot the Congresswoman in the U.S. Do we wait until someone is deliberately dumped out at sea in a chaff bag (adding scratchiness to actual murder), then watch ACMA, Jones et al. say, “But that’s not what we meant”?

    I struggle to see how Jones, the neo-Nazi parties in Europe and the Tea Party in the U.S. can specifically urge violent acts, then act surprised when someone does them.

  • 32
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Re AJ’s behaviour it is a bit like”what have child abusing pervert priests got to do with anything”
    If there is nothing shameful about any of this behaviour why be so secretive about it?
    The basic needs for honesty, openess and truthfulness, in elected or unelected politicians in the church or the media. It is not a witch hunt it is a truth hunt with liars causing many problems for everyone else though none of them are without sin. Need anything further be added?

  • 33
    Andybob
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Merve it’s all in the use of anachronism and figure of speech. If you were to say to an assembled crowd that the Leader of Her Maj’s Loyal Opposition should be shot then because guns are readily available and there is a possibility that your audience might be “tooled up” it could all be viewed as an incitement to violence requiring people to be rushed off hurriedly by Federal Police.

    If, on the other hand, you were to suggest that a certain Parrot should be confined to the Stocks in Martin Place and that you would be willing to supply tomatos to the public in that event notwithstanding that they were well past their “best by” date, then that is both an anachronistic figure of speech and a bloody good idea.

    2GB must be quaking in their boots at the thought of licence condition, possibly they might also be taken out to lunch by chaps to tell them that its just not the sort of thing that chaps do. Thats the system at work you know.

  • 34
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Never mind anachronism and figure of speech Andybob. People died in a ditch at Piles Creek while our elected representatives yours and mine ignored formal complaints their local council was ignoring due process! Edward James

  • 35
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    hey people..be fair !. Piccadilly Circus facilities were notorious when I lived in London and to be avoided at all times and for the precise reason-coppers were busting innocent people. I felt sympathy for the man at the time as an innocent tourist.

    Although it’s a mystery why someone staying at the luxurious Ritz, a short walk away would chose to use that sordid place when caught short.

  • 36
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    If, on the other hand, you were to suggest that a certain Parrot should be confined to the Stocks in Martin Place and that you would be willing to supply tomatos to the public in that event notwithstanding that they were well past their “best by” date, then that is both an anachronistic figure of speech and a bloody good idea. ‘

    Let alone the fact he might find it enjoyable and cathartic !

  • 37
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Again I ask MICHAEL DE ANGELOS and all those others subscribing to Crikey should we discriminate on the basis of sexuality? Edward James

  • 38
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Edward James a reply to you is awaiting moderation where they all seem to have John Bennetts’ comprehension skills.

  • 39
    Steve777
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Alan Jones and his ilk need to be called on their total disregard for balance, logic, facts or truth, together with their intense vilification of anyone of who’s views they don’t approve. Mr Jones’ personal peccadillos are not relevant.

  • 40
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Cheers Hamis going to bed now!

  • 41
    TroppoTom
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    ACMA finds Jones told an untruth and what does it do? Belt 2GB with a feather duster. Oh yes, presumably its OK for taxpayers to use all the language Jones did on ACMA board members as there is nothing at all wrong with it is there?

  • 42
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Some people need a dose of their own medicine to find out how bitter it is - especially a dose of equal “relevance” to what they like to dispense to hurt others.

  • 43
    Merve
    Posted Saturday, 16 June 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    @ROBINW
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
    Jones can make a throw away line about dumping the PM out to sea in a chaff bag while others have to apologise about calling a bloke racist who to all intents and purposes could most certainly be.

    Not almost certainly, certainly. The whole ‘turn back the boats’ issue is based on an appeal to pure racism. Abbott is just using the “dog whistle” politics that Howard invented on the issue.

  • 44
    mick j
    Posted Saturday, 16 June 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I find it incredible that a radio jock of any persuasion can state on the air that the prime minister should be “put in a chaff bag” and dumped out at sea. We have vilifcation laws which protect anyone saying anything against a minority group and we have laws which supposedly prevent people from threatening other people. We also have a supposed code of conduct for the media. It just says to me that we are seeing an ongoing breakdown of society.

    Jones is clearly not concerned about litigation as he has extreme wealth to fend off litigation and a radio station to protect him and his over-sized mouth. In the end Jones, a supposed intelligent man, is little more than a dork who is doing the dirty work for his Liberal Party connections. I can only believe that he must be the village idiot as nobody in their right mind could believe that interfering with the planet’s eco-system by removing most of the forests, fishing out the oceans and pumping huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere can be benign. This is the domain of morons.

    Get real Alan. Do something about the real elephant in the room (POPULATION GROWTH) and show that you have double digit IQ by working for your grandchildren, not against them.

  • 45
    eric
    Posted Saturday, 16 June 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    mick j
    Posted Saturday, 16 June 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Get real Alan. Do something about the real elephant in the room (POPULATION GROWTH) and show that you have double digit IQ by working for your grandchildren, not against them.

    Jones being a gay man wouldnt have any grand children you would think LOL!

    He is one nasty piece of work, arch hypoctite and a dyed in the wool ALP hater and has been for years.

  • 46
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Saturday, 16 June 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Again I ask MICHAEL DE ANGELOS and all those others subscribing to Crikey should we discriminate on the basis of sexuality? Edward James.

    No, of course not.

    However I found Chris Master’s biog of Alan to be quite fascinating especially when he put the case that a closet sexuality may have driven so much of the subject’s actions. Although Masters was speculating of course.

    I actually finished the book and felt great sympathy for Alan Jones.

  • 47
    Edward James
    Posted Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    For the time being I dislike the Labor party much more than Alan Jones. How dose the saying go? The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Edward James

  • 48
    Edward James
    Posted Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    @ CLYTIE Posted Friday, 15 June 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink The five wrongful deaths I am angry about are the Bragg and Holt family members who died in a flooded creek when the so called old Pacific Highway collapsed into Piles Creek at Somersby. My local council was responsible for maintaining that and other culverts. My councilors are responsible for seeing the council conducts its activities within the various laws and acts in place to guide it. what happened was more like malfeasance than human error. Some say while we may think globally we should act locally. I sat through the coronal inquiry and never seen one Gosford City Councilor turn up in fact the only people from Gosford Council I seen at the inquiry were witnesses. Edward James

  • 49
    Liamj
    Posted Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Alan Jones is vile and ACMA is a sick joke, so whats new.

    Dumping bodies in bags from helicopters into the sea was a well known practice of fascist junta’s installed by USA in the 70s & 80s. Thanks AJ for the preview of where this country is going.

  • 50
    klewso
    Posted Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Edward - How could you dislike the Labor Party more than Jones does? Is there a contest?
    He seems to have tried her and found her guilty of having committed parricide - going by the punishment he thinks suits her “crime”?

    Which is pretty funny - but also understandable - from a parrot?

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