Jon Gaunt loses 'Nazi' jibe legal challenge

A radio presenter who called a Redbridge councillor a “Nazi” live on air has lost his legal challenge to Ofcom’s decision to uphold complaints against him.

Sun internet radio host Jon Gaunt, who made the comments on his daily Talksport radio show in November 2008, said the media watchdog’s stance was an unlawful interference with his freedom of expression.

His heated interview with Councillor Michael Stark about Redbridge Council’s decision to ban smokers from becoming foster parents – for which he later apologised – drew 53 complaints from listeners.

Stark said the welfare of young children should outweigh the needs of foster families but Gaunt, who was in care as a child, accused him of being a “Nazi”, a “health Nazi” and an “ignorant pig”, arguing that the chance of finding a foster home would be lost under the new policy.

Gaunt claimed that Ofcom’s June 2009 finding that the interview contained material which might cause offence which was not justified by its context and was incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But Sir Anthony May and Mr Justice Blair dismissed his judicial review proceedings at London’s High Court.

Sir Anthony said Ofcom was justified in its conclusion.

“The broadcast was undoubtedly highly offensive to Mr Stark and was well capable of offending the broadcast audience.

“The essential point is that the offensive and abusive nature of the broadcast was gratuitous, having no factual content or justification.”

Gaunt was refused permission to appeal although he can renew his application directly to the Court of Appeal.

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