Wednesday, 27 January 2010

HOORAY! Go for it, Gaunty! TalkSport is BORING wihout you!

I used to listen to TalkSport, before it went rubbish. There were some great presenters on it, like Mike Dickon, James Whale and Jon Gaunt, these were presenters who were not under the thumb of the Common Purpose brainwashing clan, and they didn't ban people just because they brought up contraversial isues. They might have seemed a bit rude and gobby for some people's tastes, but at least they were willing to listen to ordinary folks.

Of course, the Common Purpose Media Gaggers have put paid to all that. Mike Dickon is dead, hmmmm, James Whale was sacked and has gone underground, very quiet, and Jon Gaunt was sacked for calling a Government official a "health Nazi". Well, Gaunty is fighting back, he has the same solicitors as the Ghurkas did a few months ago, and I hope Joanna Lumley will come4 on over and stick up for him as well!

Jon Gaunt begins TalkSport court battleRadio presenter claims Ofcom breached right to free speech by upholding complaints about on-air comments
Buzz up!
Digg it
James Robinson and Chris Tryhorn, Wednesday 27 January 2010 10.57 GMT Article history
Jon Gaunt: sacked from TalkSport after calling a London councillor a 'health Nazi' during a live debate. Photograph: Graham Turner

Radio presenter Jon Gaunt is taking on media regulator Ofcom at the high court today as he begins his legal battle over his dismissal from TalkSport for accusing a local councillor live on air of being a "health Nazi".

Gaunt, who now hosts SunTalk, the Sun's online radio show, is claiming that Ofcom infringed his right to free speech under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights by upholding complaints made against him under the broadcasting code.

Ofcom censured Gaunt last year for an on-air exchange that took place on his TalkSport show in November 2008, when he accused Redbridge councillor Michael Stark of being a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig" during a debate about the council's ban on smokers fostering children.

Gaunt, who was taken into care as a child, apologised on air for the comments, but was sacked by TalkSport a few days after the broadcast.

He is being supported by the civil rights group Liberty, whose director, Shami Chakrabarti, he once labelled "Britain's most dangerous woman".

"Jon Gaunt's job is fierce debate on the radio," Chakrabarti said. "TalkSport and Ofcom went completely over the top. People fought the real Nazis so that we could enjoy our freedoms; the Human Rights Act is there to protect us from the speech police."

Gaunt added: "The right of every British citizen to speak his or her mind, free of the fear of sanction from faceless government-appointed bureaucrats is a right that we must all protect and preserve.

"Ofcom overstepped its remit in my case, and infringed the free speech which I and every other British citizen has enjoyed since the time of Magna Carta. I do not intend to allow an unelected quango like Ofcom to rob me of my right to free speech."

Ofcom said that it was required by parliament to ensure that "generally accepted standards" were applied to radio programmes, in accordance with the broadcasting code.

The regulator added that Gaunt and Liberty were not arguing that Ofcom's role or the code are incompatible with the right to freedom of expression but were challenging its decision that the interview had breached the code.

Ofcom said that the decision had taken into account the context of the interview, Gaunt's "robust" style and the principles of free speech.

"Ofcom's role is to decide whether a particular broadcast is in breach of generally accepted standards in the broadcasting code," an Ofcom spokesman said.

"In this particular broadcast, Ofcom decided that Jon Gaunt went too far with offensive language and a bullying style."

The judge is expected to give an initial ruling today, according to Gaunt's legal team. His solicitor, Martin Howe of Howe & Co, was one of the lawyers representing Gurkha veterans in their successful campaign, backed by Joanna Lumley, to be allowed to settle in the UK.

Gaunt said that his phone-in show had been the subject of 48 complaints to Ofcom, none of which were upheld.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000.

• If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication".


Zoompad said...

Liberty are rubbish as well. I got in touch with them to ask them to help all the secret family court women who go to jail without a fair trial.

I got a feeble apology that they couldn't do anything to help back from them.

Oh, but they CAN jab the knife into a radio presenter who very much wanted to help stop innocent women getting thrown into jail!

Anonymous said...

James Whale is on LBC radio 4-7pm weekdays. Talksports lose LBC's gain.

Zoompad said...

Thanks. Please keep reminding people about James Whale, I keep forgetting that, and I would be grateful if you would keep posting it as widely as you can, on here and elsewhere, lets get him all his old audience back!.

LCB Radio 4-7 weekdays, James Whale.