Wednesday 26 June 2019

Children's TV ads face sponsorship review

CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Michael O’Keeffe. Photo: David Conachy
CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Michael O’Keeffe. Photo: David Conachy
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is review the rules on children's advertising, and will particularly look at sponsorship. This follows controversy around sponsorship of a family film on RTE by fast-food chain McDonald's.

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the Children's Commercial Communications Code has been food advertising, with special rules for food high in fat, salt and sugar.

Last year, Galway TD Anne Rabbitte wrote to ministers arguing that McDonald's should not be a sponsor of RTE's Big Big Movie on a Saturday evening. However, BAI CEO Michael O'Keeffe told a meeting of the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs the sponsorship did not breach the rules.

He said the Big Big Movie is designated as family viewing and so does not fall under the children's code.

The number of children watching the programme would have to be 50pc or greater, which it was not. There was a complaint to the BAI compliance committee, which was rejected.

"RTE's view was that it wasn't a children's movie, it was family viewing and they are not precluded," he said. "Undoubtedly, we will look at that in the review."

The BAI will also review its programme-funding scheme, the Sound and Vision fun.

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