For the second time in 6 months, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has upheld a complaint against a radio programme relating to the abortion issue on the tax-funded national broadcaster RTE.
Broadcasters in Ireland are obliged to adhere to a Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality which requires them to ensure that all sides of a debate are fairly represented during programmes. Anyone who feels that this Code has been breached is entitled to make a complaint to the BAI who will carry out an investigation and give the broadcaster in question an opportunity to explain why the imbalance occurred.
This decision is of increased significance in light of the fact that the programme in question, the Ray D’Arcy Show, has already had one complaint upheld against it by the BAI – just 6 months ago when an interview with Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty Ireland was also held to have breached the requirements for fairness.
In their criticism of the biased and one-sided nature of Mr. D’Arcy’s interview with a couple on the show, the BAI stated that the interview was “set out so as to encourage support for the Amnesty International campaign” on making abortion more widely available.
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Pro-life supporters in Ireland have noted that this decision, the second time that the BAI has upheld a complaint against the Ray D’Arcy Show, is confirmation of the fact that media bias is a serious problem on the national broadcaster. They have insisted that it is time for RTE to “rein in Ray” due to these breaches of the Code.
Predictably, pro-choice campaigners are angry about the decision and have taken to Twitter to express their outrage at the fact that the BAI has upheld the complaint. But they have no argument to make.
The fact remains that it is not acceptable for Ireland’s taxpayer-funded broadcasting station to continue to provide a platform for presenters like Ray D’Arcy and others to promote their own personal agendas. Despite efforts by several groups to highlight the problem of media bias on the station, RTE has been keeping its head firmly in the sand over the problem of bias on abortion. The Irish public won’t accept another carefully crafted statement from RTE trying to defend the indefensible, and why should they?
Irish pro-life taxpayers are sick and tired of seeing their hard-earned money being spent on programmes that push a pro-abortion agenda. This is a fair question and it’s coming up continually from pro-life supporters all around the country. This is not a matter of hearing only pro-life arguments either. Nobody is looking for that. What is wanted, and required by the BAI Code, is that broadcasters give their audiences an opportunity to hear all of the views on the abortion debate – pro-life and pro-choice – so that nobody’s voice is silenced.