Shock jock Jon Gaunt has won permission to bring a high court challenge against Ofcom’s decision to uphold complaints about an interview in which he called a councillor a “ignorant pig” and “health nazi”.
In May 2009, Gaunt – who had been sacked by radio station TalkSPORT in November 2008 – was censured by Ofcom for the comments made to Michael Stark in an interview about children in care.
Gaunt, backed by the human rights charity Liberty, argues that his right to freedom of expression was infringed by the Ofcom decision.
A written application for judicial review was earlier refused, a decision Gaunt’s lawyers believe was an “error”. Ofcom said it was the “correct” decision.
Following today’s court decision that Gaunt could take the challenge to the high court, a spokesperson from Ofcom said:
“The judge made it clear he was not making a decision on the case but simply referring it to a full hearing because it met the low threshold of arguability.”
“The outcome of this case will determine our understanding of the right to freedom of speech for a generation. The outcome of this case will determine if Britain’s airwaves will be allowed to remain a free and exciting medium able to engage in open and honest debate or will become a grey and timid desert.”
SunTalk’s Jon Gaunt, the former Talksport radio show presenter sacked after calling a Tory councillor a “Nazi” and an “ignorant pig” has launched a High Court appeal against an Ofcom ruling, claiming that his right to free speech had been infringed, reports Broadcast.
Martin Belam highlights an interesting comparison in yesterday’s UK media coverage of polling day: while the BBC suspended news blog comments entirely; the Sun touted its radio station as one of the only places that would be talking about politics on the day of the elections.
“[W]hat does this tell us about our regulatory framework in a converged digital media landscape?” writes Belam.
“Can it be right that ‘a newspaper with a website broadcasting radio’ can behave differently on election day from ” radio station with a website publishing text’? And come the next General Election, will we be talking about how ‘It’s SunTalk Wot Won It’?