Independent Report Confirms Majority Support for Retention of Prohibitions on Political Advertising in Ireland

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) announced today (16th November 2009) the publication of a research report on the issue of political advertising.

Entitled “Political Advertising: The regulatory Position and the Public View” the report was written by Dr. Kevin Rafter and was funded through the BCI’s Media Research Bursary Scheme. The research report examines the regulatory regimes governing political advertising in Ireland and abroad and presents findings from a specially commissioned Red C opinion poll on the subject. Currently paid political advertising is not permitted in Ireland. In the opinion poll research, it emerged that 56% of people continue to oppose any change to existing legislation in respect of the prohibition on political parties with only 27% favouring a change. 52% oppose any change in respect of interest groups with 29% in favour. The report suggests that respondents might be more open to a change if limitations on spending and/or limitations on the broadcast period accompany liberalisation.

Commenting on the report, Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the BAI said “The report raises a number of interesting points regarding the topical issue of political advertising and how it is regulated. The outcomes of the Red C poll contained in the report appear to support a continuation of the existing prohibitions. It is important to emphasise that this is an independent report and the recommendations contained therein are the personal views of the the author and have not been considered by the Authority”. The research was funded through the BCI’s Media Research Bursary Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide current and relevant research in areas of strategic interest to the Authority as well as the broadcasting sector.