Harbour Radio Pty Ltd‘s (2GB) The Ray Hadley Morning Show has breached the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice by failing to use reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material was reasonably supportable as accurate in a report about a hospitality program for school children visiting Parliament House.
The broadcast, aired on 25 June 2012, claimed that children visiting Canberra’s political headquarters would no longer be offered fruit snacks and bottles of water due to budget cuts.
The story was based on a newspaper article. However, before 2GB broadcast the claim, the then Federal Treasurer, Mr Wayne Swan, released a media statement contradicting that newspaper article. Although Mr Hadley referred to Mr Swan’s media statement in the course of the broadcast, he also described Mr Swan as dishonest.
Later, the newspaper published a correction.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority found that, in all the circumstances, 2GB had not used reasonable efforts to ensure that the factual material broadcast was reasonably supportable as accurate. The ACMA noted that reference to a current mainstream media source will in many (if not most) situations be indicative of a broadcaster’s reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material is reasonably supportable as accurate. However, given Mr Swan’s media statement (being credible material casting doubt on the accuracy of the newspaper article), the ACMA found that more was required in this particular circumstance.
2GB submitted that any inaccuracy was corrected in later broadcasts in which Mr Hadley made clear that the hospitality program cuts would not go ahead. However, the ACMA determined that these later broadcasts were not corrections as they did not clearly acknowledge that the original statement was incorrect.
The ACMA is in discussions with 2GB about remedial measures.
The report is available on the acma-i.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 73/2013 - 2 October