The fallout from an erroneous Daily Mail story that mucked up its maths on global warming continues, with shock jock Alan Jones the latest to be slapped down by the appropriate watchdog for relying on the dodgy figures.
On September 16, 2013, The Australian published a story based on reporting in the British tabloid, which claimed a leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report had revised down global warming to half the rate at which it had previously been occurring. The Mail’s story was quickly debunked, but it was widely picked up in other news outlets, including several outlets in Australia. The Australian was slapped down by the Press Council almost a year ago for its story on the report, with the print media watchdog expressing “considerable concern” over how long the publication took to acknowledge the error.
Jones referred to the assertion in the eye-catching story to his listeners on September 24, 2013, after The Australian had corrected its story three days earlier, on September 21, prompting two complaints to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
After 2GB challenged the authority’s draft adjudication in court and subsequently lost the challenge, ACMA has finally released a finding that Jones’ employer, Harbour Radio (licensee of 2GB owner Macquarie Radio), had breached the commercial radio codes of practice. ACMA said the licensee had not made reasonable efforts to ensure its material was factually correct, and had not broadcast a correction.
A separate complaint around 2GB’s complaints-handling mechanisms was dismissed by ACMA in its adjudication report.
In its report, ACMA notes 2GB “has, in the recent past, been the subject of action by the ACMA concerning non-compliance with code provisions regarding accuracy and complaints handling”.
Earlier, Macquarie Radio had taken ACMA to court, arguing it had used the wrong section of the Broadcasting Services Act to conduct the complaints. But the Federal Court in April rejected the arguments.
“The ACMA expects that the licensee (indeed all commercial radio licensees) will be guided by the Federal Court’s endorsement of the ACMA’s views on what is an ‘adequate and appropriate’ correction ‘in all the circumstances’,” ACMA said in a statement.