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Sunday 21 September 2014

TV3 ordered to say sorry for Browne's anti-Israeli remarks

Published 01/03/2013 | 05:00

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Vincent Browne: said ‘Arab lands were stolen’

TV3 will be forced to issue an apology on air after presenter Vincent Browne described Israel as a "cancer in foreign affairs" on his weeknight programme.

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The complaint has been upheld by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), which has stated that an item on 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' that featured the host's remarks "failed to meet the requirement for fair, objective and impartial treatment of news and current affairs".

It follows a complaint originally made by Paul Rossiter.

The BAI found that Mr Browne's comments on October 23, 2012, were not balanced by other contributions.

The presenter said that Israel was a "cancer in foreign affairs", that Israel "polarises the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world" and the Jewish community "stole the land from the Arabs".

The compliance committee of the BAI found that the references to Israel were made without any apparent relevance to the discussion of the US presidential election.

It did, however, reject a complaint that Mr Browne's remarks were anti-Semitic.

A BAI spokesperson told the Irish Independent that under Section 48(1)(a) of the 2009 Broadcasting Act, the station must provide an apology within 21 days and that general practice sees that conveyed at a "similar time to the original broadcast".

The complaints cannot be appealed by TV3, as "the determinations are final".

"Legislation provides that a complaint must be made within 30 days of a broadcast to the station concerned," the spokesperson said.

"The broadcaster is obliged to revert within 30 days of receiving the complaint with either their remedy or version of events.

"There is no provision for an appeal at this stage. The complainant would have originally contacted the broadcaster in question and if they were dissatisfied with that, would have brought it forward to the compliance committee.

"The notifications would have been released to TV3 before being publicly released."

Mr Browne was unavailable for comment last night but TV3 issued a statement to the Irish Independent.

It said: "We are reviewing the BAI's decisions with our programme editorial teams. We will not make any further comment until we have completed that."

The BAI also found that a discussion on abortion on 'Ireland AM' on August 22, 2012, was not balanced and that a 'Psychic Readings Live' programme on October 29, 2012, had breached guidelines by discussing health issues.

In total, the BAI rejected two complaints, which related to 'Psychic Readings Live', and upheld five complaints in part, relating to 'Psychic Readings Live' and 'Tonight with Vincent Browne'.

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