BAI rejects complaints about broadcasts on sliced pans and Eircode
Claim over unbalanced discussion of Israel-Palestine conflict also dismissed
Sliced pan: Darina Allen’s not a fan
The nutritional content of white sliced pans and the merits of the Eircode system were among the subjects covered in radio and TV programmes that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland received complaints about in recent months.
At its most recent meeting the BAI’s compliance committee considered and rejected six complaints made against programmes on RTÉ1, RTÉ Radio and Newstalk.
The complaint about a public-service announcement encouraging people to use the Eircode postal-code system was rejected on the basis that the complainant alleged the announcement was actually an advertisement for a commercial company. However, the committee was satisfied it was not “a commercial communication”.
The BAI also rejected a complaint about coverage on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show of an OECD report on literacy and numeracy, finding that the views of teachers had been “given an extensive airing” and that Kenny’s comments on the subject “were the expression of his personal opinion rather than an articulation of a partisan position”.
“While some listeners may not have agreed with the presenter’s comment on the role of secondary-school teachers with respect to literacy and numeracy, a programme presenter has a right to express his/her views,” the committee said.
In response to a complaint that an item on The Marian Finucane Show relating to Gaza and the West Bank had been unbalanced, the BAI stated there was no automatic obligation to balance contributions on a programme with an alternative guest or with alternative perspectives.
A comment by the chef Darina Allen that, if she were minister for health, the first thing she would do would be to ban “squishy sliced pan” was part of a complaint made by the Irish Bread Bakers Association against the RTÉ television programme What Are You Eating? The association claimed it was an “unbalanced and sensational report”.
The BAI said it did not endorse the conclusions of the programme but recognised there were different legitimate perspectives on the issue. The committee also noted that the programme makers had invited representatives of the bread-manufacturing industry to participate in the programme but this was declined.
A complaint from a representative of the Nordic Cochrane Centre who had been interviewed for a Prime Time film on controversy over the HPV vaccine was also rejected by the committee. It found no evidence to support the contention that the manner in which the interview was arranged or conducted had been unfair, or that the views of the complainant as set out in the extract used were not an accurate reflection of their actual views.
The BAI also rejected a complaint from Wind Aware Ireland about a report on RTÉ’s Nine O’Clock News about contents of a publication from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The committee found the report was concerned with providing audiences with a summary of the publication and the views of the Sustainable Energy Authority. The item was therefore “not a detailed analysis or examination of the broader issues pertaining to energy in Ireland”.