Grant Broadcasters pulls Clive Palmer’s anti-vax radio ads following backlash
Grant Broadcasters will no longer give air time to the anti-vaccination ads paid for and authorised by Clive Palmer which have been running across its stations this week.
In response to questions from Radio Today about its obligations during a public health crisis, the regional radio network said it had a responsibility to allow lawful public debate about matters of public importance, and that Australia currently has no regulations which restrict the contents of a political advertisement.
The ads don’t appear to have a specific call-to-action, however do cast doubt over the COVID-19 vaccine and provide claims about vaccine-related deaths which have been debunked.
The audio, which can be heard below, says: “Australia has had one COVID-19 associated death in 2021. But the TGA reports that there’s been 210 deaths and over 24,000 adverse reactions after COVID vaccinations. Authorised by Clive Palmer, Brisbane.”
“Public figures have a responsibility to be factual and to not to undermine our health through spreading misleading information. The head of the TGA, Adjunct Professor John Skerritt has written to both Mr Palmer and the CEO of the Grant Broadcasters Radio network to remind them of this responsibility,” a statement from the TGA said.
In response, Grant Broadcasters has said it is “grateful” for the TGA’s clarity and will no longer run the ads.
“Our radio stations strongly support their local communities and that includes fully supporting initiatives that keep our community safe, like the Federal and State Government COVID-19 vaccination programs,” it added.
Industry bodies Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and Ad Standards have previously said the ads are outside their remit as they are “political”.
The full statement from Grant Broadcasters can be read below.
Grant Broadcasters statement
Our radio stations strongly support their local communities and that includes fully supporting initiatives that keep our community safe, like the Federal and State Government COVID-19 vaccination programs.
Currently in Australia there are not any regulations that restrict the contents of a political advertisement. We also have a responsibility to allow lawful public debate about matters of public importance.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has acknowledged the concerns we raised regarding this messaging and we are grateful to the TGA for stepping up to provide a clear statement of the Federal Government’s position on this type of political advertising.
The advertisements are no longer running across our network.