The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) has today (31st January 2011) published the BAI Broadcasting Code on Election Coverage (the Election Code). The Code details a range of rules with which all Irish broadcasters must comply when covering any election held in the Republic of Ireland, including the forthcoming General Election. The key principle of the Code is the requirement that all election coverage must be fair, objective and impartial to all interests and must be undertaken without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views on election candidates, parties or election issues. The Code includes a revised moratorium on election coverage that will restrict election coverage from 2pm on the day before the election until the closing of polling stations on the day of the election. During this period references to election issues or to the merits or otherwise of candidates and their policies may not be broadcast. Speaking about the Code, the BAI’s Chief Executive Michael O’Keeffe said “Broadcasters play a key role in the democratic process and especially during an election campaign. The Code is intended to balance this important role with the interests of audiences as well as the statutory obligation of broadcasters to ensure fair, objective and impartial election coverage.” The BAI has also drawn up explanatory guidance notes in order to assist broadcasters, candidates and the general public to understand and implement this new Code. A copy of the Code and the explanatory guidance notes can be downloaded from the BAI’s website www.bai.ie or obtained from the BAI’s offices by calling 01 6441200 or emailing email@example.com .
To access a copy of the Code and Guidance notes in English, please click HERE