Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

'Nazi' remark presenter wins right to challenge Ofcom

Jon Gaunt
Gaunt is now presenting on an internet radio station for The Sun newspaper

Radio host Jon Gaunt has won permission to take High Court action against Ofcom for its decision to uphold complaints against him.

Mr Gaunt called a councillor "a Nazi" live on his Talksport radio show in November 2008, and was later sacked.

Ofcom censured the presenter under its rules on offensive material, after receiving complaints from the public.

Mr Gaunt's lawyers argued that his fundamental right to free speech had been infringed by the decision.

After a high court hearing lasting over two hours, Mr Justice Stadlen said the case had sufficient merit to go to judicial review.

In a statement, Mr Gaunt said protecting the right to speak your mind was "a right that we must all protect and preserve".

His lawyers described the case as "ground breaking".

Ofcom received 53 complaints over Mr Gaunt's interview with Redbridge councillor Michael Stark about foster care, which took place in November 2008.

The presenter apologised on-air following the exchange, but Talksport sacked the presenter after its own investigation.

Ofcom said it found the language used and overall conduct of the interview had the potential to cause offence to many listeners and that there was insufficient editorial justification for the offensive material.

The pair had been debating Redbridge Council's decision to ban smokers from fostering children when Mr Gaunt called Mr Stark a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".

Mr Gaunt is a former BBC radio presenter, winning three Sony Radio Academy Awards in 2001 while at BBC Three Counties Radio. He now hosts SunTalk, the Sun's online radio show.

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