BAI announces effective date for application of broadcasting guidelines for election coverage
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (15.01.20) announced the effective date for the application of its guidelines in relation to coverage of the forthcoming General Election. The guidelines come into effect from today and will remain in effect until 10pm on Saturday, 8th February 2020, the day of the election.
The guidelines cover a range of issues, including the various ways in which fairness, objectivity and impartiality may be achieved; how conflicts of interest may be avoided; the coverage of opinion polls; advertising and party-political broadcasts; the achievement of diversity in coverage and the handling of complaints.
The guidelines also set out the requirements for broadcasters when using social media during an election campaign period which are contained in the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs. These require broadcasters to have in place their own guidelines for the use of social media in coverage of news and current affairs. The BAI election guidelines also highlight the requirement for additional care when using social media during coverage of the election.
As on previous occasions, a moratorium on broadcast coverage will come into effect at 2pm on the day prior to polling and will end following the closure of polling stations on 8th February 2020.
Commenting on the guidelines, Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: “Radio and television programming plays a key role in how people are informed about news and current affairs issues in Ireland. Because of this, broadcasters have a statutory obligation to ensure that all news and current affairs programming is fair, objective and impartial. The election guidelines set out the additional requirements for broadcasters in election coverage to help them to meet their obligations.
“As well as providing guidance on matters such as conflicts of interest, opinion polls, advertising and party political broadcasts, the guidelines also look at social media, which serves as an important communications mechanism for broadcasters during the election campaign. As per the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, broadcasters are obliged to have in place their own policies and procedures for handling on-air contributions via social media. Given the importance of broadcast coverage of elections, it is crucial that broadcasters ensure that on-air references to social media are accurate, fair, objective and impartial.”
Media queries: Tony Heffernan / Joanne Ahern, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-2399508 / 087-9881837.
All other queries: Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, 01-6441200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to Editors
- The Guidelines in Respect of Coverage of Election are available for download here (English) and here (Irish).
- The BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality is available to download here (English) and here (Irish).
- The Guidance Notes on the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality are available to download here (English) and here (Irish).