The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) has today (10th August 2011) issued the Draft BAI Broadcasting Code on Referenda and Election Coverage (Draft Broadcasting Code). This Draft Broadcasting Code proposes a range of standards with which Irish broadcasters must comply when covering referenda and/or elections held in the Republic of Ireland, including the Presidential Election and two referenda which are expected to be held in October 2011.
The Draft Broadcasting Code updates the current BAI Broadcasting Code on Election Coverage so that it will, once introduced, cover both elections and referenda.
The key element of the Draft Broadcasting Code is the requirement that broadcasters’ coverage of both referenda and elections is fair, objective and impartial to all interests and is undertaken without any expression of a broadcaster’s own views on an election or referendum or on election parties or candidates. The Draft Broadcasting Code contains specific provisions in relation to Party Political Broadcasts and broadcasters’ adherence to moratoria on coverage of elections and/or referenda. In addition, the Draft Broadcasting Code restates the prohibition on broadcasters airing political advertising.
Speaking about the Draft Broadcasting Code, the BAI’s Deputy Chief Executive Celene Craig said, “With a presidential election and referenda expected to take place on the same day in October, the requirement to set clear standards for broadcasters is particularly important and necessary. Achieving fairness, objectivity and impartiality in coverage of the election and referenda is vital not only because it is legally required of broadcasters but also because radio and television audiences expect excellent standards and will rely on such coverage to inform their choices at the polling stations.”
A copy of the Draft Broadcasting Code in English is available here nó as Gaeilge anseo. Hard copies can be obtained from the BAI’s offices at 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2. All responses should reach the BAI on, or before, close of business on Friday 19th August next.
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The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”)
The objectives of the BAI as set out in Section 25(1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 are: to ensure that the number and categories of broadcasting services made available in the State best serve the needs of the people of the island of Ireland, bearing in mind their languages and traditions and their religious, ethical and cultural diversity; to ensure that the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution especially those relating to rightful liberty of expression, are upheld, and; to provide for open and pluralistic broadcasting services.