Willie Jackson radio complaint dismissed

19:07, Nov 20 2012
Willie Jackson
BROADCASTER: Willie Jackson.

A complaint about radio host Willie Jackson inciting violence with on-air comments about the Ports of Auckland dispute has been dismissed.

Jackson made comments in support of striking workers on RadioLive which prompted a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority that he incited physical violence and the destruction of personal property.

In March Jackson said striking workers should engage in "militant action" to get what they wanted and labelled port bosses "greedy, filthy, right wing fundamentalists".

He told listeners if you really wanted something you had to act.
"You don't go stop and then the scabs come in and they take your jobs. Go and bust your picket or your placard on theirs cars. I support that action."

In a recently released decision the authority said the comments were made during a "robust discussion" with co-host John Tamihere and were followed shortly afterwards with a statement saying the words should not be taken as a call for violent action.

"We think most listeners would have judged this broadcast to be good humoured, provocative verbal sparring. It was a kind of letting off of steam," the decision reads.

"It was not serious advocacy of violence. It was the sort of ranting that our society is willing to allow and not take seriously, particularly on talkback radio."

The BSA has seen a drop in complaints in the last year, something it's putting down to better behaved broadcasters.

The authority, which ensures television and radio do not breach standards, received 195 complaints and issued 162 decisions in the last year, compared to a record high 236 decisions the year before.

Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene said while it was pleasing that complaints had reduced, it was too early to say if it was a trend. 

"We believe that if the system is working well, complaints will drop over time. The implication of this is that broadcasters breach codes less often, the public are better able to identify breaches and the broadcasters' own complaints processes are more effective, prompting fewer referrals to us," she said.


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