18 October 2012: The licensee of Sydney radio station 2GB, Harbour Radio Pty Ltd, has agreed to an overhaul of its processes to ensure that reasonable efforts are made to verify facts and present significant viewpoints in its current affairs programs.
The agreement comes after a review conducted by 2GB of complicance processes after the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA)( determined that 2GB had breached the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice. The relevant breaches occurred during segments of the Alan Jones Breakfast Show on 15 March 2011 and 8 and 11 February 2010. The incidents involved comments made by Jones regarding the human contribution to climate change, and the actions of the then Department of Environment and Climate Change.
It was found that sufficient procedures were not in place to verify the truth of statements made on the show, and valid alternative viewpoints were not represented on any other 2GB show.
2GB has agreed to the following procedures in response to the ACMA’s findings:
New measures applying to programs hosted by Alan Jones
- 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.
- Creation and retention (for at least six weeks) of records of the verification material sourced by the executive producer for the facts contained in the editorial piece.
- Identification by the executive producer of controversial issues of public importance that are not covered by other 2GB current affairs programs.
- Communication of these exceptions to 2GB’s program director who will then be responsible to ensure that another current affairs program presents an alternative, significant viewpoint to that presented in the program hosted by Alan Jones so that 2GB can discharge its obligations under the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.
- Creation and retention of records by the program director for the above steps.
New measures applying to all news and current affairs programs
- The program director will conduct random checks of daily broadcasts for each of the programs and will record the details of the controversial issues of public importance canvassed in the program. The program director will also record the reasonable efforts made/opportunities that have been given by the relevant programs to present significant alternative viewpoints.
- Training will be conducted (including with Alan Jones) focussing on the ACMA’s findings concerning factual accuracy and significant viewpoints.
- The training will be completed by the end of November 2012/
You can read more about 2GB’s undertakings to the ACMA here.