A complaint over the use of an Elvis Presley song during a tribute to the late David Trimble on RTE’s Prime Time programme has been rejected by the broadcasting watchdog.
A viewer complained to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) after watching a segment on the current affairs programme last summer in which the song ‘Trouble’ by the late king of rock and roll, from his iconic film “King Creole,” was deemed to be offensive and “a more appropriate “Elvis Presley song could have been chosen.”
“The complainant states that the words ‘because I’m evil, my middle name is misery,’ ‘well I’m evil’ and ‘I’m evil, evil, evil, as can be,’ were sung as images of David Trimble appeared on screen.
"The complainant believes the use of this song during the tribute is offensive and suggests a bias.”
It was one of six complaints made over broadcasts on RTÉ radio and television between June 15, 2022 and August 14, 2022 that were rejected by the BAI.
The complaint was submitted under the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality and the Code of Programme Standards requiring the broadcaster to have respect for community standards.
RTÉ countered that “it found, during research for the segment, that David Trimble was a fan of Elvis Presley and that his favourite film starring Elvis Presley was ‘King Creole’.
The song used during the tribute, ‘Trouble’ is the most well-known song from ‘King Creole’ and was used to reflect David Trimble’s wide range of interests.”
In its decisions released today, the BAI found the choice of the song “did not cause undue offence” but the broadcaster may have chosen a more appropriate Elvis song.
“The Forum acknowledged that while the words of the song are not offensive in and of themselves and the choice of song is an editorial decision for the broadcaster, the broadcaster may have chosen a more appropriate Elvis song to accompany the footage in question.”
“However, considering the broadcast in whole and in context, the Forum concluded the broadcast did not cause undue offence.”
“The Forum concluded the broadcast did not infringe the relevant provisions of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 or the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, or the Code of Programme Standards.
"Accordingly, the Forum rejected the complaint.”
Mr Trimble, who died on July 25, 2022 at the age of 77, was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement and he along with the late SDLP leader John Hume, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the ground-breaking agreement in 1998.
He was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2022 and leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005.