Complaints about report and song upheld


A NEWSTALK undercover investigation of security at a Limerick psychiatric hospital, which involved a reporter entering the hospital carrying knives, was unfair, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) has ruled.

The item, broadcast on the Lunchtime with Eamon Keaneshow, was one of two complaints upheld by the BCC last month.

The other related to the broadcast on Today FM of a song containing expletives.

The BCC dismissed 13 complaints, including one from mortgage lender Start Mortgages claiming its reputation had been attacked by RTÉ's Prime Timeprogramme.

The Lunchtime with Eamon Keaneshow broadcast on April 11th last featured an item involving a reporter entering St Anne's Psychiatric Hospital in Limerick with knives in her handbag, to illustrate the lack of security at the hospital.

Two consultants had been attacked by a patient at the acute day care unit at the hospital earlier this year, sustaining stab wounds.

Consultant psychiatrist Prof David Meagher complained that the programme was unfair, misrepresented the function of a psychiatric hospital and could cause patients to imitate the reporter's actions. The station claimed the reporter's knives remained concealed in her bag and her presence in and freedom to move through the hospital demonstrated there were no metal detectors or security checks in place.

The BCC said it was well known that the ethos of day care centres was that they should be open, amenable environments and subsequently the undercover investigation was unfair to the hospital. However, it found the broadcast would not encourage patients to imitate the reporter.

In a separate decision, the BCC said the Ray Foley Showon Today FM should not have broadcast a song by Lily Allen titled F--k You Very Much. Mr Foley had warned the audience the song contained swear words, the BCC said, but the proximity of the warning to the song was insufficient as a quiz was held in between.

The song was a "catchy" tune, the BCC said, but was peppered with "the F-word", which had strong potential to cause offence.

Among the 13 complaints dismissed was one from Niall Corish on behalf of Start Mortgages in relation to a Prime Timeprogramme on subprime lending.

Mr Corish said: "Shockingly, they [Start] are portrayed as being in the business of giving money to people who cannot afford to repay it." The BCC found the broadcast was not unfair to Start Mortgages.