PHULEEZE

The Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) has has announced a temporary suspension of advertising for Alan Jones’ breakfast show. This follows the decision by Mercedes Benz in the last 24 hours to cease advertising on the same show, but importantly, to ask for the return of the motor vehicle provided to Mr Jones as part of its advertising arrangements.

The two page statement from MRN is shallow at best, but insulting at worst, in the lack of understanding about what has happened here. The statement includes the following:

  • Mr Jones’ apology in relation to the disparaging comments about the Prime Minister’s father was “unambiguous and unconditional”.
  • The “avalanche” of criticism of Mr Jones has come from those who are not part of the regular audience.
  • This is “censorship via cyber-bullying”.
  • MRN generally and 2GB specifically operate in a regulated environment and is accountable to various authorities and to its audience.

The statement makes no mention of Mr Jones’ earlier comments about #destroyingthejoint.  It makes no reference to his track record of misogyny or vilification.  Its inference is that if 2GB’s audience is accepting of Mr Jones’ apology, then things are good.

I must have watched a different apology on national television.  The apology I saw was not unambiguous or unconditional.  I think the word “but” was used on numerous occasions.

Those who are not regular listeners to Mr Jones’ program have a right to demand action in relation to his comments.  It is the 2GB platform that enables him to reach people well beyond those who directly listen to him.  As such, Mr Jones has significant influence.

The regulatory environment is an interesting one.  I’m still waiting for a response to my complaint of early September about Mr Jones comments on 31 August 2012 (see my earlier blog).  2GB certainly has time on its side.  It can take up to 45 days to respond to my complaint, which will put the response into early November.

Well, Mr Tate, Chairman of MRN, things are not good.  I am not a regular listener but I will not allow anyone in Australia who has such wide influence to get away with the comments that have been made.  I will not stand by and have Mr Jones belittle and humiliate women, irrespective of their status.  I will do all I can to ensure that Mr Jones’ influence is removed. The first step should have been for Mr Jones to be stood down and then dismissed.  If that had occurred, there would not have been any need for this “unprecedented decision to suspend advertising in the Alan Jones Breakfast Show”.

Rest assured, Mr Tait:  until Mr Jones is stood down/dismissed, I will not rest.   You will then be able to reinstate your advertisers to tap into that “massive audience” that you are proud of.  I doubt that you’ll have any trouble recruiting a presenter who will engage with such an audience without feeling the need to stoop to misogyny of vilification.

This is not cyber bullying.  This is common sense about ensuring that people of influence do not have any opportunity to utter misogynistic or vilifying comments across our nation.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Oh:  and PS:  I bought a pile of stuff totalling $1,020 at Bing Lee the other day, not because they advertise with 2GB, but because they ceased advertising with the Alan Jones Breakfast Show.

Tonga

#DESTROYINGTHEJOINT UPDATE

As mentioned in my previous blog, I complained to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as well as the Sex Discrimination Commissioner about Mr Jones’ comments on 31 August 2012 that “. . .  women are destroying the joint . . .”.

Disappointingly, ACMA will have nothing to do with the complaint until I complain to 2GB directly.  I did this, but it’s not easy.  First, you have to ‘apply’ for a complaint form.  The form includes the usual compulsory questions such as name, address etc.  However, one of the compulsory questions relates to a complainant’s age.  I believe this is irrelevant and adds further to the difficulty of complaining.  Rest assured I told them I was 17, but did disclose in the body of my complaint that I was not 17 and my age was irrelevant.  One of the other compulsory questions relates to the other radio stations the complainant listens to.  Fortunately, it was free text so I wrote it was none of their business as again it’s irrelevant to the nature of the complaint.

The next problem in this complaint is that 2GB has 30 business days to acknowledge the complaint and 45 business days to respond substantively.  I complained on 1 September so they don’t have to respond till early November.

What’s that saying?  Justice delayed is justice denied.

If I’m not satisfied with the response from 2GB, I can then lodge a formal complaint with ACMA.  I cannot find the timelines for ACMA on its website.

Then onto the Sex Discrimination Commissioner:  the Sex Discrimination Commissioner cannot investigate my complaint under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, because it does not cover vilification.  I have asked the Sex Discrimination Commissioner if she would consider making a statement about Mr Jones’ comments, and my request will be submitted to her on her return from leave.

In the meantime, I understand the Attorney-General is currently considering reforms to federal discrimination laws.  It was suggested that I may wish to raise any concerns or suggestions with the Attorney directly.

I wonder why Mr Jones and others get away with belittling women?  Would it be that we still have a way to go in managing processes such as those described above?

DESTROYING THE JOINT

Destroy the JointIt’s yonks since I’ve written a blog here, but Alan Jones has forced me to think about how to ensure community supports one another.

Over the last week there has been much written and said about Charlotte Dawson and the awfulness of Twitter to her.  She ended up apparently attempting suicide.  Those who were rotten to her were generally anonymous trolls.  If Charlotte had been in a good space, she would have blocked them AND reported them for spam.

On Friday, 31 August 2012, however, Twitter garnered the support of the sisterhood to address the following reprehensible comments of a national shock jock, Alan Jones:

“She (the Prime Minister) said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating.

Women are destroying the joint – Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here. Honestly.”

I was gobsmacked when I read this at about 5.30 pm in the mainstream media.  Jones is in a position of national influence as his program is syndicated to various region

s and is streamed on the internet.  Potentially, his program has national and international reach.  I tweeted a link to my local ABC station @666Canberra at 5.41 pm, but I suspect it was too late in the day for Louise Maher, the presenter, to pick up such a large story.  My tweet was retweeted to a range of people and I also tweeted it to Elizabeth Broderick,  Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner.  I daresay others tweeted to her as well.

What happened then was amazing.  I settled in to watching Hawthorn maintain their place on top of the AFL ladder, occasionally tweeting when particularly good bits of play were observed.  Well, quite often really.  This gave me the opportunity to keep an eye on whether others had picked up the Alan Jones piece.

Fairly quickly, #destroythejoint or #destroyingthejoint popped up.  @JaneCaro, started at 6.20 pm, tweeting

Got time on my hands tonight so thought I’d spend it coming up with new ways of “destroying the joint” being a woman & all. Ideas welcome.

If you’re interested, go to twitter and put in one or other of the hashtags to see the serious and not so serious.  It brought everyone together in mocking Jones but supporting one another.  Indeed, some of my favourite male tweeters did a good job too:

@BernardKeane:

To all the laydees out there tonight, whatever joint you may be destroying, I raise a glass to you #destroythejoint

@LasekJeremy:

@JennaPrice @ACLambert in support of the sisterhood I’ve done my best to #destroythejoint http://yfrog.com/kf4n6vhj

Some of our leaders participated, including @KatyGMLA, especially when the merchandise became available:

My friend and I are #destroyingthejoint but we stopped briefly to purchase some #destroythejoint t-shirt merch to record the occasion

Well done sisterhood, and honorary sisterhood (the blokes).  You came together to support one another and used your humour to address a miserable comment.  Every few minutes there’s another hilarious comment.

In the meantime, I have looked at the code of conduct for commercial broadcasters as issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.  It seems to me that Jones has contravened Code 1.1(e) and I have lodged a complaint accordingly.

I have also lodged a complaint with the Sex Discrim

ination Commissioner.

As it’s Father’s Day today, and most of the blokes I know are having a relax, I can now get on with  #destroyingthejoint.