Former talkSPORT presenter Jon Gaunt has told RadioToday.co.uk he's 'pleased and very confident' after being given the right to appeal a legal ruling in his case against Ofcom.
Gaunt and the station were found in breach by the regulator over a 2008 interview in which the presenter called a councillor a 'Nazi' and an 'ignorant pig'.
Speaking to RadioToday.co.uk, Jon said it was a major step forward. "We had to fight to get the judicial review in the first place," he said. "So I was disappointed when we didn't win that in its entirety, although we won several points in it. Now we have a proper appeal and I'm very pleased and very confident. I've got a great legal team so now we wait and see what happens when it goes to court, hopefully in the next few weeks before Easter."
Gaunt's barrister told the Court of Appeal that the High Court had misunderstood the context of the "ignorant pig" comment and that it was wrong to rule last summer that "broadcasting shouted abuse which expresses no content" was not protected by Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. Lord Justice Thomas, granting permission to appeal, said Gaunt should be entitled to argue whether the High Court had followed the correct principles.
Despite an on-air apology, Gaunt was [link=https://radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.4076.2]fired by talkSPORT[/link] in November 2008 and Ofcom recorded a breach for the broadcast following more than 50 complaints. Gaunt later sought a judicial review claiming the broadcast regulator unlawfully interfered with his freedom of expression – but [link=https://radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.6084.12]that was dismissed[/link] last summer.
Jon told us: "Clearly, when I win I shall then pursue talkSPORT like a rabid dog because it ain't over till the fat bloke sings – and I ain't singing yet. It has been two years and no matter how long it takes, my legal team will continue. But I can't do anything with talkSPORT before I finish with Ofcom."
Jon has received support from a variety of organisations for his legal case against Ofcom – including Liberty. "When I first started this it was about talkSPORT, but it's not about them really now," he told RadioToday.co.uk. "When I win with Ofcom then obviously I'll take talkSPORT as well, but it's really about the princple of free speech and freedom of expression – that's why it's such an important media case. It's ludicrous that you can say certain things in a newspaper that you can't say on the radio or on TV."
During the talkSPORT interview, Redbridge Councillor Michael Stark said there should be a ban on smokers being able to foster children but Gaunt, who was in care as a child, argued that the chance of finding a foster home would be lost under the new policy.
"It's so important to realise that Stark never ever complained and there were only 53 complaints," says Jon. "This legal case started off about breach of contract, but it's really now much more about the kind of radio we should be able to produce in this country."
You can read more of our exclusive interview with Jon Gaunt in this week's eRADIO, which hits inboxes on Wednesday morning at 9am. [link=https://radiotoday.co.uk/eradio/]Click here to subscribe[/link] if you don't already receive it.