The Irish government has reprimanded a taxpayer-funded radio talk show for its unbalanced promotion of abortion, in a nation that bans the procedure in its constitution.
As the abortion opponents at the Christian Institute point out, this is the third time a warning has been issued by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to RTE, over its Ray D’Arcy Show program, one of Ireland’s leading radio programs.
But the Broadcasting Authority noted that for the RTE show, which receives taxpayer funding, it was “the third occasion on which complaints have been upheld” regarding its promotion of abortion.
The nation’s Broadcasting Act 2009 requires that programs meet certain “fairness, objectivity and impartiality requirements.”
The network argued that listeners likely would have been able to determine that the show “endorsed the views of his interviewee and was articulating a partisan position.”
D’Arcy argued on his program that those who wanted to have an abortion in Ireland had to fight the government, characterizing that as a “horrific” situation.
The previous complaints all lined up with the latest: that the show host “promoted his personal view in respect of abortion” and that it was “unfair and biased.”
The Christian Institute noted that the Pro Life Campaign defined the result as a degradation in the show’s reputation.
“With each new instance of one-sided coverage, public trust in RTÉ is evaporating. RTÉ’s refusal to address the problem is also doing a huge disservice to those working in RTÉ who take care to be impartial,” the organization said in a statement.
The taxpayer-paid network should “admit there is a serious problem regarding bias at the station and that it’s time to demonstrate how concrete and verifiable steps will be taken to address the situation.”
“This needs to stop,” said Niamh Ui Bhriain, from the Life Institute, regarding the abortion promotions.
“The bias is evident in both entertainment and current affairs, and does not reflect the views of the Irish people on this issue.”
The broadcaster said it would create a plan to make sure there are no more recurrences.
The Irish Times said the BAI issues notices when it thinks matters are “of a relatively serious nature.”
“It is understood management at RTÉ will meet the BAI in January to agree a plan to ensure non-current affairs teams know how to deal with situations when their programs drift into current affairs content,” the report said.
The complaints stemmed from D’Arcy’s interview with Gaye and Gerry Edwards, members of the Termination of Medical Reasons organization, about their experience with abortion.
“The complaints say the program was pushing for the repeal of the constitutional ban on abortion, the Eighth Amendment,” the report said.