American late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! is set to pay USD395,000 (over AUD500,000) in fines after the program aired a skit mocking the presidential alert.
The Federal Communications Commission, a US television regulator, fined the ABC talk show as well as the network for replicating the presidential emergency alert tone dubbed “trump alert” thrice during the sketch.
The program aired the sketch on October 3 last year, the same day the US officially tested trump alert throughout the nation. During the trial, more than 200 million mobile phone users in the US received a “Presidential Alert” notification saying it was a test.
The alert system was designed to inform US citizens of major national threats like natural disasters, terrorism and missile attacks. It is run by the country’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
When the time comes that the nation is facing a national emergency, United States President Donal Trump is assigned to order FEMA to send out information through the warning system.
The FCC says Jimmy Kimmel Live! Breached broadcasting rules by mimicking the alert tone. Under the commission’s rules, broadcasters are not allowed to mimic the emergency alert system “to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation”.
While ABC network admitted to airing the alert in the said sketch, it says they were under the impression that “use of the tone was permissible”. The Walt Disney Television-owned network released a statement saying it takes “regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue”.
Ben is is a senior journalist and sport columnist for Best in Australia. He previously worked for the BC and other radio stations.