Australian Radio Host Michael Smith Losses Regular Guesting Stint Over Comment About Prophet Mohammed

By @ibtimesau on

Followers of the Islam faith are known to proclaim a jihad or holy way whenever they feel that their religion or its founder or leaders is maligned. One such instance that created a furor in the Muslim world was when Indian-British novelist and essayist Ahmed Salman Rushdie released in 1988 his fourth novel titled The Satanic Verses.

Muslims from different countries protested the book because followers of the Islam faith thought it was an irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad. The book caused then Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa that required Rushdie's execution, although the author lived through the threat by being under police protection for several years.

In Sydney, Australia, talkback radio host Michael Smith last week lost his regular guesting stint with 2GB for controversial comments about the Prophet Muhammad during his discussion with 2GB host Ben Fordham.

Smith described the prophet as "a man who promoted the idea that it was OK to marry a six-year-old and consummate the marriage when the little girl was nine."

He also compared the invitation to Uthman Badar, a Muslim activist, to speak at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas on the topic Honour Killings Are Morally Justified, to inviting the leader of the dreaded Ku Klux Klan to speak.

Michael Smith was a filler for three weeks for afternoon 2GB presenter Chris Smith. But 2GB programme director David Kidd called him and cancelled the booking for "calling a deity a paedophile." Smith wrote on Saturday about Kidd's call on his Web site.

Smith stood by his comments, pointing out that he had made similar comments over 2UE in 2011, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority acquitted him of a complaint that he incited hatred and of factual inaccuracy.

The incident highlights the power of the spoken voice, especially when an opinion is expressed over the airwaves and it tackles topics that tend to create controversy such as religion.

However, despite losing his guesting stint, Smith's voice is far from being silenced. He can tap technology such as new delivery platforms, like those offered by Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM.L), to share his opinions about different things which are often tolerated in a democratic nation like Australia.

Audioboom offers a Software as a Service platform that allows straightforward upload or download of content. It has positioned itself as the global leader in spoken audio content, or the audio equivalent of the YouTube, the most popular video sharing site.

The London-based publicly listed company is the provider of social media platform for audio producers to record either live or from the studio, upload and share audio by syndication and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

At present, Audioboom has about 2,000 content channels from the initial 19 channels during the platform's launch in March 2013, said Rob Proctor, company CEO. Audioboom currently has 2.5 million registered users and 12 to13 million monthly active users across platforms.

Audioboom's global major partners, which uses its apps, embeds and custom publisher solutions, include BBC, Sky Sports, Bauer, Absolute Radio, The Guardian, Universal, Aljazeera, Polydor, The Telegraph and Oxfam.

Smiths's voice may no longer be heard on 2GB, but with the technology offered by Audioboom, it need not be muted because he could still continue sharing his views on different topics not only to 2GB listeners but to a much wider audience base.

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