Alan Jones’ Jacinda rant breached ‘decency’
Top-rating radio broadcaster Alan Jones has issued an on-air correction after he made "inaccurate" comments on climate change that breached broadcasting rules.
The outgoing 2GB Breakfast host has also been called out for breaching decency standards over comments he made about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The sanctions follow an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority into the remarks made by Jones in the second half of 2019.
ACMA said these included an incorrect assertion that biomass, a renewable, was a fossil fuel and the incorrect presentation of figures relating to Australia and New Zealand's percentage of energy use from solar and wind.
The regulator found that comparison was not based on like-for-like data.
"The factual error and inconsistent information were used to incorrectly portray that Australia generates more of its energy from renewables than New Zealand," ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said in a statement today.
Jones addressed ACMA's findings on-air this morning, saying he knew biomass was not a fossil fuel and had "made that point many times in the past".
"I didn't have any complaints about this at the time or I would have corrected it straight away," Jones said.
He corrected figures regarding New Zealand and Australia's reliance on solar and wind energy.
"When you look at all renewables, New Zealand generates more of its energy from renewable sources than does Australia," the broadcaster said.
Ms O'Loughlin said broadcasters had a responsibility under the industry code to make reasonable efforts to ensure facts were accurate.
Jones also made several comments regarding Ms Ardern after taking umbrage with her stance on global warming.
The ACMA determined they "offended against generally accepted community standards of decency".
The broadcaster wondered on-air whether Scott Morrison would be briefed to "shove a sock down her throat" and said he hoped the Prime Minister "gets tough here with a few backhanders".
Ms O'Loughlin said the comments were not appropriate.
"The repeated use of violent metaphors by Mr Jones and his apparent encouragement of aggressive silencing of Ms Ardern was highly offensive and did not meet contemporary community expectations," she said.
"This was evident in the public display of outrage from the community, actions by advertisers and actions by then chairman of Macquarie Media."
2GB did not oppose ACMA's finding and told the regulator he'd been counselled.
The authority recognised Jones later apologised on-air and wrote to Ms Ardern and said it wouldn't take further action on the decency issue.
But it ordered Jones to make the on-air correction over the climate comments.
2GB says it will use the ACMA investigation in future staff training.
Jones is retiring from 2GB at the end of this month after a 30-year radio career.
He will retain his role as a News Corp Australia columnist and Sky News television host.