BAI publishes Draft Code on Election Coverage

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) has today (16th December 2010) issued the Draft BAI Broadcasting Code on Coverage of Elections (Draft Election Code). The Draft Election Code proposes a range of standards with which Irish broadcasters must comply when covering any election held in the Republic of Ireland, including local, European and General Elections.
The key element of the Draft Election 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 broadcasters own views on election candidates, parties or election issues. The Draft Election Code applies these requirements to election coverage in general but also to Party Political Broadcasts. In addition, the Code restates the prohibition on broadcasters airing political advertising.

Speaking about the Draft Election Code, the BAI’s Chief Executive Michael O’ Keeffe said, “Once finalised, this Code will apply coverage of elections on all programmes ranging from standard current affairs to phone-in programmes. The Code will also require broadcasters to comply with a moratorium on election coverage commencing on the day before the election and ending once polling stations have closed on the day of the election itself. An election is an important public event and the Code is being introduced by the Authority to ensure that all Irish broadcasters are required to comply with uniform standards.”

A copy of the Draft Election Code can be downloaded from the BAI’s website or obtained from the BAI’s offices at 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2. Written submissions can be posted to the BAI or emailed to All responses should reach the BAI on, or before, close of business on Monday 10th January 2011.

Media Queries to: Suzanne Sullivan Q4PR 01-4751444/086-3797291

Note to Editors:

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”)
The objectives of the BAI as set out in Section 25(1) of the 2009 Act 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. The BAI incorporates work previously
undertaken by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Broadcasting Complaints
Commission (BCC).
The BAI and its predecessors (the BCI and the IRTC) have required broadcasters to comply
with a moratorium on election coverage for over 15 years. This requirement is retained in the
Draft Election Code.

The moratorium prohibits election coverage from including electioneering and/or references to
election issues and/or references by any on-air personnel to the merits or otherwise of election
candidates and their policies during the period in which the moratorium is in operation.

The moratorium will apply for the entire day before the election takes place and throughout the
day of the election until polling stations close.

The moratorium has two objectives:-
 It is an additional mechanism to ensure that fairness, objectivity and impartiality are
achieved by the broadcast media during this critical period in the polling process, and;
 It allows voters a period for reflection in the final stages of an election campaign.