I hope this finds you really well. Did you catch Media Watch on ABC last night? It covered Australia's talkshow hosts dealing with the issue of climate change. Media Watch contacted Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) about the lack of balanced representation of climate science. ACMA said it couldn't take action on codes of practice breaches if no one complains. And so far no one has complained about this issue. So let's all complain!
These talkback shows (believe it or not) fall into the ACMA definition of a current affairs program, which means they are subject to codes of practice that aim to provide a balance of viewpoints on issues of public importance, and separate factual material from commentary (read codes below).
Talkshow hosts such as these below have often breached code of practice 2.3 (a) and (b) when dealing with representation of climate change science:
2GB: Alan Jones, Chris Smith; 2UE: Jason Morrison, David Oldfield, Michael Smith; MTR: Steve Price; 6PR: Howard Sattler; 5AA: Leon Byner; 4BC: Gary Hardgrave; 6PR: Paul Murray
What should we all do?
1. Send a letter of complaint to the radio station. Most stations have an online feedback form you can use. In the letter you need to say something like ‘I am complaining that there has been a breach of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice 2010. See the example letter, which you can copy. If you have the time (and the nerve), listen to programs and make a complaint about a specific example. If not, a general complaint is fine.
2. Wait to receive a response. If you don’t get one within 60 days or you think it’s a poor one, submit a complaint to ACMA.
3. File a letter of complaint to ACMA
I know it seems onerous but considering the amount of people who listen to these programs, it is important they don’t consider themselves above their broadcasting responsibilities. Good onya – let us know how you go!
Communications, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
PS. Media Watch 21/03/2011 transcript is here