Controversial broadcaster Alan Jones has been ordered to undergo ‘‘factual accuracy’’ training and employ a fact-checker after the media regulator moved against him over false climate change claims.
Jones told his listeners on March 15 last year that ‘‘the percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air. Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.’’
Radio 2GB had argued that the comment should have been taken as comment, because Mr Jones’ show comprised ‘‘overwhelmingly ... [of] the personal opinion and comment of Jones’’.
But the Australian Media and Communications Authority said any ‘‘ordinary, reasonable listener’’ would have taken the statement to be fact.
‘‘The nature of the language, tenor and tone used was unequivocal and conclusive,’’ it said. ‘‘The form of words neither indicated that it was contestable, nor qualified it as a statement of opinion.’’
It said 2GB had ‘‘some’’ fact-checking and verification measures in place, but said there were ‘‘shortcomings’’ in these measures in Jones’s shows.
‘‘The editorial pieces, the subject of the ACMA investigations, did not involve the wider production team,’’ it said.
‘‘There are occasions when a controversial issue of public importance will be the subject of editorial and opinion comment on programs hosted by Alan Jones without any presentation of other significant viewpoints on any other 2GB current affairs program.’’
The station has agreed to ‘‘pre-broadcast fact-checking by the program’s executive producer of any material provided by non-media sources or third parties which may require additional confirmation and attribution’’.
Its news and current affairs programs will also be subject to random checks by the program director, and all staff will undergo ‘‘factual accuracy’’ training by next month, including Jones.