FINE Gael TD Eoghan Murphy has described recent rulings by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) on discussions about marriage equality as “daft and depressing”.
The BAI recently ruled against Newstalk presenter Chris Donoghue and RTE Radio One’s Derek Mooney after complaints were lodged about items on both radio shows dealing with same sex marriage.
In both incidents the presenters expressed the opinion that they are in favour of marriage equality.
Speaking in the Dail, Mr Murphy described the complaints as “spurious” and said the BAI findings were not “fair and objective”.
He noted that the National Union of Journalists said the BAI was acting in a way that was “harmful to the public interest”.
“That’s a very serious charge,” he added.
He said neither of the shows were debates ahead of the referendum on same sex marriage.
The item on Derek Mooney’s show was about civil partnership and the discussion on Newstalk related to the Gay Pride Parade in Dublin.
“They are popular and important radio shows giving voices to people who have different points of view to others and I hope in time it will become a normal point of view,” Mr Murphy said.
Responding to Mr Murphy, Communications Minister Alex White defended the legitimacy of the BAI’s findings but stressed he did not have a view on the actual findings.