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article imageChristine Assange: Radio host suspended after Nazi taunt

By Anne Sewell     Aug 21, 2012 in World
Christine Assange, mother of Julian, was interviewed on radio in Australia on Sunday. A radio host was suspended after making Nazi taunts during her interview.
Management of the 3AW radio station suspended John-Michael Howson from broadcasting for four weeks after he chanted a Nazi slogan at Julian Assange’s mother during the Sunday Morning program.
Howson, who is co-host on 3AW's Sunday morning program was unhappy, after Christine Assange canceled a pre-planned phone interview with him.
Mrs Assange, said, "I won't be doing an interview with you because you're acting like a pig." To which Howson responded on air with "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" as Mrs Assange hung up the phone.
Reportedly, Mrs Assange was condemning Howson's treatment of the previous guest as, immediately prior to this, Howson called Sam Castro, of the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance, a hypocrite for supporting Assange's decision to seek political asylum in Ecuador. Howson claims that the country has a "poor" human rights record.
He said, "You people are so full of it, you make me want to spew up........ You support free speech yet you're going on about a country that restricts free speech," he added, not giving Castro any chance to state her side of the story.
Howson claimed that he was being censored by Mrs Assange because she denied him the chance to state his opinion, saying "These people just want to come on air and give us their propaganda and they don't want any tough questions."
3AW General Manager Shane Healy said, “We’ve told him in no uncertain terms that it was completely unacceptable behavior and we don’t condone it in any way.”
On Sunday Howson reportedly linked Mrs Assange to the biggest example of censorship that he could think of, the Nazi regime, merely because she refused an interview with him about her son, WikiLeaks founder, Julian.
Howson, a veteran broadcaster apologized on Monday in an on-air statement, which was also posted on the radio station's website:
"Yesterday on the Sunday morning program we discussed the matter of Julian Assange and his decision to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador in London," he said.
"During that discussion I made offensive comments by citing the Nazi salute. I unreservedly apologize for saying what I said.
"I did not intend to imply that our guests or anyone shares the views of the Nazi party or seeks to control free speech."
His apology can be heard here.
However, on Tuesday, Howson is thanking his critics for the exposure received during the incident.
He told Sydney radio station 2SM, "In fact, thanks for the publicity."
"I'm actually on the front page of the Melbourne (Herald) Sun today. I'm thrilled! I'm thrilled, I couldn't be happier! ... I mean God knows, I'm in the retirement stage now and all of a sudden I'm a cause celebre."
An extract from the radio show is included below:
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