The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) has today (13th September 2011) published the BAI Broadcasting Code on Referenda and Election Coverage (“the Code”).
The Code sets out the rules that Irish broadcasters must comply with when covering any election, including presidential elections, or referendum held in the Republic of Ireland. The Code is effective immediately.
The key aim of the Code is that a broadcaster’s coverage of all elections and referenda is fair, objective and impartial to all interests. Coverage should be undertaken without any expression of a broadcaster’s own views on an election or referendum or on election parties or candidates.
The Code contains specific provisions that relate to party political broadcasts and moratoria on coverage of referenda and/or elections. In addition the Code restates the prohibition on broadcasters airing political advertising.
Speaking about the publication of the Code, Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the BAI said, “This Code is an important document informing both broadcasters and the general public about the rules and standards that exist relating to the coverage of elections and referenda. With dates set for the Presidential Election and a number of referenda in October of this year it is timely that this Code is published today. Ensuring fairness, objectivity and impartiality in the coverage of elections 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.”
The BAI has also published explanatory guidance notes in order to assist broadcasters, candidates and the general public to understand and implement the Code
A copy of the Code, in English, can be accessed here.
A copy of the Code, in Irish, can be accessed here.
A copy of the Guidance notes can be accessed here.
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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.