2GB breaches accuracy and complaints-handling codes
The ACMA have found 2GB has breached accuracy and complaints handling obligations in 2 broadcasts of the Alan Jones Breakfast Show.
The ACMA states :-
Code 2.2(a) requires licensees, in the preparation and presentation of current affairs programs, to use reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material is reasonably supportable as being accurate.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority found 2GB did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of:
- comments made by Mr Jones on 17 October 2012 about power station closures. Here, the sources relied on by 2GB were contradicted by primary material readily available on the website of the owner of the power stations, and
- comments made by Mr Jones on 23 October 2012 about salaries paid in the Department of Climate Change. Here, there was no evidence of 2GB’s efforts to ensure the accuracy of the comments.
A third complaint about the accuracy of comments made by Mr Jones on 29 October 2012 concerning the NBN and other matters was not upheld. The ACMA found the comments broadcast were statements of opinion. The ‘accuracy’ obligation in the codes applies only to factual material.
The ACMA also found two breaches by 2GB of its complaints-handling obligations.
2GB submitted that it was not obliged to respond to a complaint it considered frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the complaints process. The 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 the ACMA.
2GB submitted that it did not receive the complaint. However, the complainant provided the ACMA with a fax transmission report showing that the complaint had been successfully sent to 2GB.
In these two matters the ACMA found that 2GB was obliged to give a substantive response and breached the code when it failed to do so.
The ACMA is in discussions with 2GB about remedial measures.
More details here.