Jimmy Kimmel Live! fined $395,000 over presidential warning alert skit

Written by on 17/08/2019

Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been fined $395,000 (£325,000) for using a simulated presidential emergency alert during a skit, a US regulator has announced.

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The ABC talk show used the tone three times in an episode which aired on 3 October last year, in a sketch mocking the alert after it had been officially tested nationwide earlier in the day.

More than 200 million Americans received the notification, which was testing the system to alert people about national emergencies for the first time.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said use of the alerts for non-emergencies and outside of proper testing was “a serious public safety concern” and that the show had breached broadcasting rules.

ABC admitted the simulated alerts were improperly included in the show but said there was a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible”, according to the FCC’s report.

Broadcasters are prohibited from using the alert or mimicking it to “avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation”, the commission said.

Other shows, including The Walking Dead and Lone Star Law, and a radio group were also fined smaller amounts for featuring similar alerts.

The official test which was sent out read: “Presidential Alert. THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Two minutes later, people watching television and listening to the radio also received an alert.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system was launched in 2012 following criticism of George W Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the test last year was the first one to be conducted.

(c) Sky News 2019: Jimmy Kimmel Live! fined $395,000 over presidential warning alert skit


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