Transgender discussion on Liveline

Role for BAI?

Sir, – It would appear that the individuals and organisations critical of recent discussions on RTÉ Radio on the subject of transgender may not be choosing to make a formal complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), although they have accused the station of encouraging hatred of transgender people (“RTÉ's Liveline accused of facilitating ‘hate speech’ against trans people”, News, June 13th) and, in the case of Dublin Pride, breaking off a long-standing relationship with the broadcaster (“RTÉ ‘disappointed’ with Dublin Pride’s decision to end partnership,” News, June 15th).

In this situation, the BAI could consider initiating a Section 53 investigation. Section 53 of the 2009 Broadcasting Act allows the BAI Compliance Committee, where it believes there may have been a breach of statutory requirements (for example of fairness, impartiality and objectivity) or of a broadcasting code or rule (including giving offence to individuals or groups), to appoint an investigating officer to report to it. Sanctions can include a fine of up to €250,000.

This is an unusual step, last taken by the BAI in 2012 in respect of the RTÉ programme Mission to Prey. But given the exceptionally important issues of free – and respectful – speech which are at stake, it could make a very useful contribution to a common understanding on such necessary public discussion. – Yours, etc,



Former head

of broadcast

compliance RTÉ,

Dublin 8.