The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that the licensee of 2GB Sydney, Harbour Radio Pty Ltd, breached the Commercial Radio Code of Practice by broadcasting material that was likely to vilify people of Lebanese background on the basis of ethnicity.

The breach arose from material included in The Open-Line Show hosted by 2GB presenter, Mr Brian Wilshire, broadcast on 15 December 2005. While ACMA found the material was presented for a purpose in the public interest, being discussion of factors contributing to unrest in southern Sydney, ACMA was not persuaded that the comments were presented reasonably and in good faith for this purpose.

ACMA found 2GB breached clause 1.3(e) of the code. Under this clause, a licensee must not broadcast a program which is likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against or vilify any person or group on the basis of a number of attributes, including ethnicity.

The licensee advised ACMA that it took immediate action after the broadcast. An apology was aired on the day following the broadcast on the Channel 10 news and on 2GB.

The licensee has also advised that during compliance training, which followed the broadcast, all presenters and production staff were briefed 'about the importance of ensuring that in discussing current affairs, criticisms of particular types of conduct is reasonable, but criticisms that are based on persons having any of the attributes listed in code 1.3(e) are not".

ACMA notes the licensee's prompt and prominent public apology and its re-emphasis on compliance training in this case. As such, ACMA considers these actions are a reasonable response to the circumstances identified in the investigation. ACMA will closely monitor the licensee's ongoing performance against this provision of the code.