RTÉ bans ad for film against cuts in pension


AN ADVERTISEMENT for an online film aimed at defending the old age pension from cuts in the forthcoming budget has been banned from playing on RTÉ radio due to its political content.

The film, which was directed by award-winning director Ken Wardrop of His & Hersfame, was commissioned by the Older Bolder organisation as part of its Defend the State Pension campaign.

The film project, which cost about €30,000 to complete, was launched yesterday by Older Bolder, which is an alliance of eight non-governmental organisations in the ageing sector.

The short film shows a number of old age pensioners standing in the pouring rain explaining why the State pension is important to them and should not be cut.

“What makes the words expressed in the film both powerful and poignant is that the people appearing in the film are standing, without shelter, under sheets of heavy rain,” said Patricia Conboy, Older Bolder’s project director. She said the organisation had hoped to run an advert on RTÉ radio directing people to the film, which has been posted on the YouTube website and the organisation’s own website. RTÉ had not allowed this to happen, she said.

Peter Feeney, head of broadcast compliance at RTÉ, said the Broadcasting Act 2009 forbids all broadcasters from carrying advertisements towards political ends.

He said RTÉ’s copy clearance committee decided the advertisement breached the Act because it directed listeners to a video and website that sought to influence the Government in the formation of December’s budget.

“RTÉ has no discretion in this matter,” said Mr Feeney.

Older & Bolder was set up in 2006 when five NGOs came together to call for a commitment to the development of a national strategy on ageing. It said it had collected about 10,000 signatures already for a petition aimed at influencing politicians to put pressure on the Government ahead of the budget. The group has also asked the 50,000 people affiliated with its eight member organisations to lobby local TDs and senators between November 4th and November 6th. Tom O’Higgins, chairman of Older & Bolder, said the State pension should be defended against any further cuts in the budget to protect those at risk of poverty.

“We’re not a group of selfish old people. It is an inter-generational issue,” he said. Mr Wardrop said it was a noble cause and he hoped the short film would take off in a viral way on the internet.

The film is hosted on www.olderandbolder.ie and on youtube.com