Tuesday 17 October 2017

Watchdog upholds complaint against Ray D'Arcy's radio show

Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland
Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A complaint against RTÉ has been partially upheld by the broadcasting standards watchdog.

The show, broadcast on RTÉ Radio One on June 9, was alleged to have breached standards of fairness and impartiality.

It arose from an interview with Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland during a discussion on Irish abortion legislation.

A complaint by Elaine Noonan to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Complaints Committee, said she believed the interview was more of a chat between two people, who were "agreeing totally" on the subject. It lacked any sort of challenging or balanced journalism, she added.

In this regard, the presenter frequently aired his own opinions, which consistently agreed with those of Mr O'Gorman.

Mr O'Gorman was given extended opportunities to talk at length with "no questions or challenges." RTÉ argued that audience participation is the "hallmark" of the show, adding that text and email communication are an integral part of any item. The state broadcaster also said that some very "robust" text and emails, reflecting unhappiness with the Amnesty campaign, were read out to Mr O'Gorman.

In its ruling, the BAI Complaints Committee upheld the complaint in part. It found listeners to the programme would have concluded that Ray D'Arcy "endorsed" the views of Colm O'Gorman, and was articulating a "partisan position."

Irish Independent

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