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Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) uphold in part a complaint against RTÉ’s Drivetime


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The Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) has upheld in part a complaint which was made against RTÉ’s Drivetime for a segment it aired earlier this year about the redevelopment of Galway Port.

The complainant argued the segment was effectively an advertisement in favour of developing the port because there was no mention of any opposition to the plan or the history of opposition to the development of the port.

He noted that all the speakers were in favour of the development and the presenter’s commentary did not bring any balance to the discussion and gave the impression the redevelopment of the port was already decided.

In response, RTÉ said the report focused on the announcement of the public consultation regarding the re-development of the Galway Harbour area and that two contributors outlined the proposed plan and it was clearly said that the proposal to extend/relocate the port was subject to planning permission.

The broadcaster stated that the item was not a debate about the merits of the proposal and the presenter’s questions were neutral and sought information on the plans.

It added there is no requirement to have an alternative view in every item or report on a controversial or topical issue.

The BAI Forum ruled by a majority - having considered the broadcast and the submissions from the complainant and the broadcaster and having had regard to the relevant legislation and Code - to uphold the complaint in part.

It found no examples of inaccuracies in the report or of views or facts that were misrepresented or presented in a way that could be misleading.

However, it said there is an expectation the presenter or reporter will ensure discussions of news and current affairs issues are not one-sided and that alternative perspectives are presented, including the views of those not in attendance insofar as appropriate and practical.

In this regard, the Forum noted the selected interviewees in the broadcast all expressed positive views about the proposed development of Galway Harbour and moving the port.

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It concluded the broadcast did not feature a sufficient range of views to meet the requirements of fairness, objectivity and impartiality in the code.

It comes as the BAI has published the decisions on 16 complaints which were made against its member.

The Drivetime Galway Port complaint was the only one which was partially upheld, while the others were all rejected.

One complaint which was rejected related to an advertisement for a butcher shop on LMFM which the complainant said referred to St Patrick’s Day as Paddy’s Day.

The complainant argued his Catholic faith was singled out by the advert for mockery and ridicule and this caused him great hurt and distress.

The BAI noted there is widespread use of the colloquial term “Paddy’s Day” when referring to the feast day and said, while this may offend some, it would not cause serious or widespread offence.

A complaint was also made against the presenter of Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder programme after he accused the complainant of speaking “BS”.

The complainant argued this was offensive and unprofessional, but the BAI judged that “the language used by the presenter was combative but in keeping with audience expectations of the programme.”

Meanwhile, a complaint made against Virgin Media One’s Ireland AM programme for innuendo was also rejected.

The complainant claimed while tasting cocktails, a guest asked the presenter if he liked a “sugary rim” several times and said this was offensive and inappropriate for daytime television.

The BAI ruled, however, the content was not out of step with the audience’s expectations of the programme and the channel.

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