Ireland’s publicly-funded broadcaster has been issued with an official warning by broadcasting authorities for repeated pro-abortion bias on one of its flagship radio shows.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) issued the warning to RTÉ, which receives funding from TV licence fee payers in the country.
Pro-life groups have welcomed the warning at a time when the Irish Government is under pressure to hold a referendum on removing constitutional protections for the unborn.
The complaints were made against the Ray D’Arcy Show, which is one of Ireland’s leading radio programmes.
In its decision, the BAI noted that this “was the third occasion on which complaints have been upheld” in relation to abortion coverage on the show.
The most recent complaint concerned a June broadcast which was found to have failed to comply with the ‘fairness, objectivity and impartiality requirements’ of the Broadcasting Act 2009.
‘Unfair and biased’
The BAI said it was their view that “listeners to the programme would have reasonably concluded that the presenter endorsed the views of his interviewee and was articulating a partisan position”.
During the show, presenter Ray D’Arcy said that having to “fight” the state to have an abortion in Ireland was “horrific”.
Previously, complaints were made with the BAI that “the presenter promoted his personal view in respect of abortion” and that he was “completely unfair and biased” during an interview.
With each new instance of one-sided coverage, public trust in RTÉ is evaporating.
The Pro Life Campaign
The Pro Life Campaign praised the BAI’s decision and said: “With each new instance of one-sided coverage, public trust in RTÉ is evaporating. RTÉ’s refusal to address the problem is also doing a huge disservice to those working in RTÉ who take care to be impartial.”
It called on the publicly-funded broadcaster to “finally admit there is a serious problem regarding bias at the station and that it’s time to demonstrate how concrete and verifiable steps will be taken to address the situation.”
Niamh Uí Bhriain from the Life Institute said that despite being a publicly-funded broadcaster, RTÉ’s output is “is relentlessly pro-abortion, and this needs to stop”.
She added: “The bias is evident in both entertainment and current affairs, and does not reflect the views of the Irish people on this issue.”
The broadcaster has responded to the warning notice in a statement: “As required, RTÉ will provide the BAI with a plan to ensure there is no re-occurrence of the issues identified.”
The BAI has the authority to deliver formal sanctions against RTÉ if it fails to act to its satisfaction.