BAI rejects six complaints against RTÉ’s coverage of abortion debate

Broadcasting watchdog holds that RTÉ was fair in its handling of a contentious issue

The RTÉ mast at the television centre at Donnybrook: complaints about station’s coverage of abortion debate rejected by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

The RTÉ mast at the television centre at Donnybrook: complaints about station’s coverage of abortion debate rejected by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Fri, Apr 5, 2013, 20:45

RONAN McGREEVY

Six separate complaints in relation to RTÉ's coverage of the abortion issue have been rejected by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

Three related to coverage on RTÉ news of a poll on abortion, one to another news report and two to a documentary on the X Case.

The BAI's compliance committee did not uphold the view that a report into a Sunday Business Post /Red C poll broadcast on December 1st was biased in favour of the pro-choice position. Two viewers held that a 6.01 news report on the poll highlighted the fact that 85 per cent favoured X Case legislation, but did not mention that 63 per cent favoured a constitutional amendment to overturn the X Case judgment. RTÉ maintained that it highlighted the first figure and not the second because it was one that most pertained to the Government's position that they would legislate in relation to abortion.

The committee held that RTÉ had limited time to present the outcome of the poll which also included the fortunes of the political parties. In that case the omission of the results on the constitutional amendment was an editorial judgment that RTÉ was entitled to make.