The Australian Communication & Media Authority replaced the Australian Broadcasting Authority in 2005 and its home is Senator Helen Coonan’s department. ACMA has handed down a decision against Sydney’s leading radio station 2GB and its ratings-winning talkback host Alan Jones, stating that Jones had vilified Lebanese Muslims at the time of the Cronulla riots and had contributed to causing the violence. 

Jones has come out with all guns blazing, asserting that the ABC sooled its listeners into complaining to ACMA after The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story the day after the Jones broadcast in question. AAP then ran the story nationwide.

Jones has replayed most of his comments from the time and asserts that the complainants could not have listened to the original material — basing instead their complaints on the skewed SMH article without ever having listened to 2GB.

The real story is ACMA’s incredible refusal to identify his accusers to Jones. An analogy would be a silent woman sitting in a darkened room being videotaped to a courtroom with the prosecutor alleging she had been raped by the defendant, and the defendant being denied the right to cross-examine! A person in Senator Coonan’s Sydney office confirmed tome this anonymity of the complainants, but was unable to tell me of ACMA’s procedure to check the authenticity of complainants.

ACMA is just another worthless tribunal created by a blundering Government and it is being cleverly exploited by “Our ABC” as a lickspittle to damage one of its most hated enemies. How ironic that John Howard has come out and defended Alan Jones against one of his Government’s instrumentalities — now exposed as a totalitarian and corrupt organisation.

But it’s okay for Sheik Hilarious and his loony mates to vilify mainstream Australians whenever they feel like it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey