The BAI rejected all complaints it considered about the the coverage of abortion
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has published its most recent complaints decisions.
At meetings held in May and June 2016, the Compliance Committee and Executive Complaints Forum of the BAI considered 21 complaints. Of these, three complaints were upheld and 14 rejected.
Eight of these rejected complaints were with regards to abortion coverage.
A complaint was filed regarding certain broadcasts of 'The Pat Kenny Show' on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015. The programmes contained reports and discussions on abortion as part of a week long special report entitled 'Ireland’s Abortion Journey'.
The complainant claimed that the programmes were skewed in favour of the ‘pro-choice’.
With regards to the broadcast on the 4th of December the report said:
"The complainant maintains that this segment was supposed to look at the legal, medical and political sides of the debate but it was skewed in a ‘pro-choice’ direction due to including a medical expert who he believes is aligned with one side of the debate."
However Newstalk stated that the programmes were presented in a "fair objective and impartial manner" without any expression of the "broadcaster’s own views".
A complaint was also filed regarding an interview on RTÉ Radio 1's 'Ray D’Arcy Show' with writer and journalist, Louise O’Neill. The interview was in respect of the right to life and the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution.
The complainant stated that during an interview with Ms O’Neill "no mention was made of the life in the womb, the unborn child, the possible objection of the father or the possibility that the vast majority of women consider an expected child to be a gift and a creation of God."
Ms. O'Neill took to twitter to express her thoughts in response to the complaint.
"The vast majority of women" don't want to get pregnant because I don't want to get pregnant. LOGIC.— Louise O' Neill (@oneilllo) September 15, 2016
RTÉ stated in response: "The editorial approach of The Ray D’Arcy Show includes the hosting of interviews conducted in an exploratory, conversational style which is known and expected by the programme’s audience."
Complaints were also made regarding coverage of the issue on 'The Late Late Show', 'Today with Seán O’Rourke', 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' and TV3's Leaders’ Debate.
None of the eight complaints made to the BAI regarding the coverage of abortion were upheld.