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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland reject complaints regarding RTE's Referendum debates

By Joe Leogue

The broadcasting watchdog has rejected a number of objections lodged against TV and radio debates ahead of May’s referendum on the Eighth Amendment - but upheld in part a complaint an interview in which the head of RTE was asked who she would like to kick in the testicles.

These complaints were made against the Claire Byrne Live Referendum Special on RTE 1, TV3’s Pat Kenny Show Referendum Special, the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, and the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has published its latest decisions on complaints made, and revealed that two were upheld in part and 18 were rejected.

A complaint about a 2FM interview by Eoghan McDermott with the Director General of RTÉ, Dee Forbes was upheld in part.

Responding to the question, Ms Forbes said “Nobody”.

The complainant said Mr McDermott asking Ms Forbes who she would like to kick in the testicles was “offensive and discriminatory towards men” and “promoted violence against men”.

The BAI acknowledge that the question, asked as part of predetermined questions in a ‘quick fire’ quiz, was “clearly intended to be light hearted”, but it determined that the question and the specific wording used “ was not justified”.

Dee Forbes

A complainant submitted that a report on a court case, in which he was the defendant, that aired on RTE’s SixOne news was incomplete and failed to mention he was acquitted of some charges.

In their response, RTE said the report was based on court copy which was supplied by a freelance journalist earlier that day, and that updated copy was only received six minutes before broadcast, which was too late to afford time to change the report broadcast.

The BAI upheld the complaint in part. It said while it did not agree the report was misleading, RTE “did not take sufficient steps to ensure that it complied with the principle of accuracy” when the report was broadcast.

The watchdog rejected four complaints about McDonald’s sponsorship of the “Big Big Movie” on RTE One on Saturday evenings.

A complainant argued that the marketing of fast food around these films - including movies about Santa Claus and Cinderella - were in violation of guidelines set out in the Children’s Commercial Communications Code.

RTE argued that the films in question are “not Children’s programmes as defined in the Code” and that the Big Big Movie slot “is referred to as “family viewing” not children’s viewing.” The BAI accepted this and rejected the complaint.

A number of complaints about broadcasts concerning the Eighth Amendment referendum were rejected.

These complaints were made against the Claire Byrne Live Referendum Special on RTE 1, TV3’s Pat Kenny Show Referendum Special, the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, and the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1.