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Wednesday 3 September 2014

BAI rejects complaints about RTE apology to John Waters & Iona

Sam Griffin

Published 07/05/2014 | 20:55

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PHILOSOPHER FOR OUR TIME: John Waters is a guy who wasn’t too highbrow to write songs for Crystal Swing, a guy who didn’t lose touch with the soil of rural Ireland even as he became steadily more intellectual and abstract. Photo: Tony Gavin
John Waters Photo: Tony Gavin
Rory O'Neill aka Panti Bliss

THE broadcasting standards watchdog rejected three complaints lodged against RTE after the station apologised to John Waters and members of the Iona Institute for comments made by gay right campaigner Pantibliss.

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The drag queen, also known as Rory O'Neill, was accused of making defamatory remarks on the Saturday Night Show in January of this year.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland today announced it had rejected three complaints it had received in relation to the apology the show subsequently aired on January 25 apologising for Mr O'Neill's remarks.

One complainant alleged the apology by the programme “sided with those individuals and the organisation and their beliefs, contrary to requirements for fairness, objectivity and impartiality”.

Another complainant claimed the apology deprived those arguing for marriage equality from articulating “what is an accurate and honestly held opinion on a matter of public interest” while the third argued that the statement by RTE was “not apologising but editorialising”

That complaint claimed that RTE had portrayed Rory O'Neill as in “undermining or impeding democratic debate” by his remarks.

However the BAI rejected all three complaints. The agency found “broadcasters must be free to take measures to ameliorate the impact of a broadcast that it believes has infringed its legal obligations, including the airing of apologies as a legal remedy to claims of defamation”.

Irish Independent

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