Sunday 25 August 2019

RTÉ lays down the law on 'political badges'

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Picture: Collins
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Picture: Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

RTÉ has asked TDs and senators to refrain from wearing political badges on TV unless it relates to the topic they are discussing.

The reminder of the station's policy came after Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin fell foul of the rules for a second time.

He wore a 'Repeal the Eighth' badge during a broadcast last month. Previously, chat show host Brendan O'Connor asked him to remove a 'Yes Equality' pin during a TV appearance in the run-up to the same-sex marriage referendum last year.

RTÉ head of compliance, David McKenna, yesterday wrote to all Oireachtas members asking politicians respect "fair and impartial broadcasting" and not wear "badges, emblems or slogans which would breach that principle when you are a guest contributor".

He said certain badges - like those relating to charities - are allowed but requested that the decision of producers or editors be respected if there is "confusion or ambiguity".

Last night, Mr Ó Ríordáin - who took off his badges on both occasions when asked - said "I can understand" RTÉ's position. He said he had no plans to breach the rules again adding: "I'm not really interested in stunt politics."

Irish Independent

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