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Broadcasters must not 'undermine authority of state' under new guidelines

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RTE studios in Donnybrook

RTE studios in Donnybrook

RTE studios in Donnybrook

BROADCASTERS must not promote crime or undermine the authority of the state under new programming standards.

But the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) insisted broadcasters will not be inhibited from challenging public policy or having open debates about how the Government operates.

Under the first changes to its code of programme standards since 2007, the authority also outlined that breaching an individual’s privacy must not be unwarranted.

The standards, which fall under seven principles, state that television networks and radio stations are prohibited from encouraging behaviour or views that could harm the environment.

Broadcasters must also ensure competitions and voting are conducted fairly, with the rules made known to audiences.

The standards, which will come into effect from March 1, outline new protections for vulnerable people or those under the age of 16.

Broadcasters are asked to seek consent from the child and, where possible, their parent or guardian, before making programmes which include them.

The standards state that broadcasters should have due regard for the impact that coverage relating to a death may have on the family and friends of the deceased.

The BAI also published changes to rules on subtitling, sign language and audio description, with RTE, as the public service broadcaster, being required to provide subtitling for up to 92pc of its programming by 2018.

However, the new standards do not make reference to blasphemy law, or video and audio material published online.

While the standards were previously outlined in the Broadcasting Act 2009, updating the code will streamline the complaints process for viewers, according to chief executive of the BAI Michael O’Keefe.

Online Editors