Alan Jones has been ''given a dose of his own medicine'' with the online campaign that has stripped his station of sponsors, and is not the victim of ''cyberbullying'' as he has claimed, Coalition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has said.
Turnbull: Jones getting dose of his own medicine
In a speech about media regulation, Malcolm Turnbull celebrated social media for being the antidote to media bullies, and criticised Alan Jones' comments that online campaigners were 'cyber-bullies'.
Mr Turnbull said new media had allowed ''thousands of Australians'' to speak ''for themselves, unedited, unmediated'', and the consequences have been ''without precedent''.
''The management of 2GB have announced his show will be run henceforth without any advertisements at all. For the first time Alan will have something in common with the ABC,'' Mr Turnbull said last night in his Alfred Deakin lecture entitled Liberty in the Digital Age.
''Mr Jones has sought to lead 'people's revolts' for many years. But this was indeed a popular revolt against vicious and destructive public discourse … It is difficult not to believe that he is getting a dose of his own medicine ...
''Mr Jones has complained that he has been the victim of social media bullying, saying that if it happened anywhere else in society, this kind of bullying or harassment or intimidation or threatening conduct, the police would be called in.
''But Mr Jones believes his association with certain products will encourage people to buy them … If other people take the view that an association with Mr Jones will lead them not to buy those products, why are they not able to tell the advertiser of their view and encourage others to do the same?''
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today played down the suggestion that Mr Turnbull had contradicted his position on Mr Jones.
While Mr Abbott has said Mr Jones did the wrong thing, he has also suggested the radio announcer has been targeted.
"I think there are a lot of people who are looking for every possible opportunity to victimise and demonise people who they don't agree with politically," Mr Abbott said yesterday on 3AW.
This morning, Mr Abbott said that free speech was an "absolute core principle" of the Liberal Party.
"That’s why Malcolm was out there last night giving a ringing declaration of free speech. It’s something on which every Liberal, every member of the Coalition, is absolutely united," he told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Turnbull said the Jones episode bolstered the case against more media regulation.
''In this case the effective response to Mr Jones was not regulation … but rather the use by thousands of people of the enhanced freedom afforded them by the social media,'' he said.
Mr Abbott also repeated his view that Mr Jones' comments were offensive.
"Well, I think I’ve been saying what everyone has said about Alan Jones, that his comments about the Prime Minister’s dad were absolutely wrong and offensive," he said.
"Now, I mean, how many times do we have to say it?"
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop also said that people had a right to free speech.
‘‘There are many views about Alan Jones,’’ Ms Bishop told ABC Radio.
When asked whether Mr Turnbull was at odds with the Coalition's stance, she said: ‘‘I don’t believe there’s one view about Alan Jones anywhere, let alone within the Coalition.’’
With Judith Ireland, AAP
In this case the effective response to Mr Jones was not regulation … but rather the use by thousands of people of the enhanced freedom afforded them by the social media