BAI upholds RTÉ 'virgins' complaint

Friday 13 June 2014 15.55
The BAI has upheld the complaint
The BAI has upheld the complaint

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld a complaint over comments by Irish designer Paul Costelloe about young Irish people living and working in London, which were broadcast on the 'The Business' on RTÉ Radio One.

During an interview the designer had stated in reference to Irish men in London, that he was sure "these young guys are doing great and damaging a lot of young English virgins."

RTÉ acknowledged that the remark was found to be offensive by a number of listeners, however the broadcaster said it asserted strongly that this throwaway comment on a sidebar issue to the main purpose of the interview did not indicate any lack of due care for the protection of listeners "from undue offence and from harm".

In its ruling the BAI found the manner in which sexual relationships were described by the guest would cause undue offence, and the programme makers had not taken due care in the way in which the comments were handled during the programme.

In its latest broadcasting complaints decisions, the BAI also upheld a complaint about a competition run on Newstalk 106-108FM's Newstalk Breakfast programme on 28 February, in relation to how it was run, and the accessibility of the terms and conditions.

The BAI also upheld in part three complaints, including two relating to the Right Hook programme on Newstalk, and one relating to RTÉ's Nine News about coverage of the European Elections last month.

The complaint was made on behalf of Councillor Bríd Smith, Patricia McKenna, and Paul Murphy about a report on the programme on 3 May, regarding Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll findings.

The BAI committee did not agree with the complainant that the approach taken to the reporting of the poll was undertaken on the basis of an arbitrary 10% cut-off in terms of poll results.

The Committee agreed with the broadcaster that coverage of every element of the poll is not an obligation, in principle, so as to ensure compliance with the requirement for fair, objective and impartial coverage of news and current affairs.

However the BAI found the exclusion in the reports of poll results in respect of Councillor Bríd Smith and then-MEP Paul Murphy was unfair to these two candidates.

The BAI also said the context for the broadcaster's analysis of the results of the poll was insufficiently transparent for viewers.

The BAI rejected nine complaints, including four about the broadcast of an apology on RTÉ's Saturday Night Show on 25 January, following an interview with LGBT activist Rory O'Neill which aired earlier in the month on the same programme.