14.03.18: New guidelines raise questions about  whether BAI is fit for purpose

PLC extremely concerned about likely impact of guidelines on abortion debate – Cullen

The Pro Life Campaign has said it is “extremely concerned” about the new guidelines issued by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland which do not oblige broadcasters to adhere to a strict 50:50 division of time during on-air debates in the lead up to the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Commenting on the BAI decision, PLC spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen said:

“The guidelines raises questions about whether the BAI itself is fit for purpose and can be relied upon to ensure fairness and objectivity in public broadcasting. This body cannot be naïve to the fact that most broadcasters are already very one-sided in the way they cover the abortion issue. The new guidelines do nothing but exacerbate the problem.

She continued: “The latest decision of the BAI raises very serious issues regarding the way public broadcasting operates in this country and the lack of commitment to fairness. You wouldn’t need to know very much about how the media works to spot how the latest BAI decision will be exploited by those in broadcasting who are more committed to their own personal ideological positions than to impartial and objective reporting.

“If we don’t receive satisfactory assurances in the coming days about how the guidelines will operate in practice, we will consider whatever options necessary to bring fairness to the debate.”