Illustration: Ron Tandberg.
SYDNEY radio station 2GB, the former partner of failed Melbourne talkback station MTR, has been found to have breached the broadcasting code over Alan Jones' claim that ''human beings produce 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere''.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority found that Harbour Radio Pty Ltd, the licensee of 2GB, had breached the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice by ''failing to use reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material was reasonably supportable as being accurate'' during a broadcast on March 15, 2011.
The radio station was also found to be in breach on two counts of failing to comply with the complaints-handling provisions of the code.
The radio station defended itself against the accuracy charge by claiming it provided production resources, researchers and writers to its presenters in the preparation of programming content. However, 2GB admitted that ''no research was conducted by staff and that Mr Jones researched the figures himself'', the ACMA report stated. The authority also found that a ''correction'' Jones offered on June 3, in which he cited an earlier interview with climate change expert David Karoly, was not ''adequate and appropriate''.
The media watchdog also considered two charges against the station relating to Jones' attack on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and various other political figures in a number of broadcasts in 2011.
On July 6, discussing the financial impact of the carbon tax, he said of Ms Gillard: ''The woman is off her tree - and quite frankly they should shove her and [then Greens leader] Bob Brown in a chaff bag and take them as far out to sea as they can - and tell her to swim home.''
The ACMA considered whether 2GB had breached a licence condition that proscribed it from broadcasting material that ''is likely to incite, encourage or present for its own sake violence or brutality'' or that ''is likely to incite hatred against, or serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, any person or group of persons because of age, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preferences, religion, transgender status or disability''.
The ACMA found in favour of 2GB on these matters, stating that ''whilst disparaging and disrespectful'', Jones' comments ''were not strong, intense or inflammatory enough to be capable of being construed as urging violence or brutality against those public figures''.