Radio host Alan Jones' 'violent' Jacinda Ardern remarks breached rules, broadcasting authority finds

A top Australian radio host will provide an on-air correction after aggressive comments directed at New Zealand's Prime Minister were found to have breached broadcasting rules.

Alan Jones, 79, came under heavy fire last year after employing a series of violent metaphors in a rant on his 2GB radio show about Jacinda Ardern's criticism of Australia's inaction on climate change.

Ahead of her meeting with the Australian Prime Minister in August last year, Jones said: "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison's going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."

He also said he "[hopes] Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders" and "goes for the throat" in discussions with Ardern.

The remarks drew more than 125 official complaints, and the Alan Jones Breakfast Show lost more than half of its total revenue as advertisers boycotted the programme in protest.

Now, an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found he breached broadcasting guidelines, ruling that it "offended against generally accepted community standards of decency".

"The repeated use of violent metaphors by Mr Jones and his apparent encouragement of aggressive silencing of Ms Ardern was highly offensive and did not meet contemporary community expectations," chair Nerida O'Loughlin said of ACMA's decision.

"This was evident in the public display of outrage from the community, actions by advertisers and actions by then chairman of Macquarie Media, who publicly stated any recurrence of this type of comment would result in the termination of Mr Jones' contract.

"Acknowledging that the broadcast had caused offence to many in the community, 2GB did not oppose ACMA's breach finding in relation to decency."

ACMA also ruled that Jones was in breach of its rules for inaccurate comments on climate change in the same segment.

"These included an incorrect assertion by Jones that biomass is a fossil fuel, and the incorrect presentation of figures relating to Australia's and New Zealand's percentage of energy use from solar and wind. The ACMA found that these comparisons were not based on like-for-like data.

"The factual error and inconsistent information were used to incorrectly portray that Australia generates more of its energy from renewables than New Zealand."

Last year, Jones apologised on-air to Ardern for the comments and also sent her a letter. He has since praised her for her reaction to his attacks.

Jones announced last Tuesday that he was giving up his famous breakfast slot on Sydney's 2GB network at the end of May, citing health issues. The former Wallabies coach is frequently touted as Australia's most influential broadcaster, with well-known conservative views.

2GB will provide an on-air correction over Jones' climate change comments, ACMA says.