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Slap on the wrist for FM104 over caller who called Africans 'parasites'

The man said Irish women who date African men are “absolute sluts”.

Image: Shutterstock/Horst Petzold

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) has upheld a complaint made against the FM104 Phoneshow about comments made on the programme.

The man who complained said the radio show in question, which was broadcast on 12 November 2015, allowed people to “express hatred and racism against other nationals in our society”.

He viewed the programme as “disrespectful, offensive and biased”, and said it gave more airtime to people who “used negative stereotypes to portray immigrants as culturally more prone to violence, laziness, and welfare dependency”.

The complainant was particularly offended where it was “obvious one caller used the n-word”, saying a time delay should have been used more effectively.

In a statement, the BAI noted that the programme invited listeners to contact the radio station with their opinions.

The topic of the programme derived from a caller who was concerned about a request, from her ex-partner and father of her child, to bring the child to visit his family in his home country of Nigeria. The caller was concerned that she might not see the child again if she granted this request.

While the programme did include contributions that dealt with this topic, it also included a caller, who was on-air for most of the duration of the programme, who expressed clearly racist views which the committee would consider likely to stir-up hatred.

The committee found that the views expressed by this caller “had no evident editorial relevance to the discussion since the issue of race was not highlighted by the caller who was facing the dilemma that was the focus of the programme”.

The caller was “invited throughout the programme to air his views and was permitted to make continuous racist remarks throughout the majority of the programme”, the committee stated.

He made the following assertions/comments (among others):

  • Africans and Nigerians are only in relationships with Irish women so as to secure passports and to “sponge off the welfare”, labelling them “parasites”;
  • He was appalled that any Irish woman would “stoop so low” as to have a relationship with an African, calling such women “absolute sluts” “white trash” and “dirtbags”;
  • He said African men are “contaminating our gene pool” and “outbreeding us 2-1″;
  • He said he was concerned Ireland was going to end up like America, namely: “a mongrel race”.

Warning

In response, FM104 stated that the Phoneshow carries a warning at the start of the programme because “some views expressed on air by callers can be extreme”.

The station said: “The extreme views to which the complaint is based on were challenged repeatedly during the show by both the presenter and other callers, thus showing enough balance and debate to counteract any view made that someone disagreed with.”

While offensive and racist opinions were put forward by some contributors to the programme, these opinions were not permitted to stand. They were constantly challenged, disagreed with and effectively belittled, with those who expressed these opinions called out and basically shamed on air for daring to hold them – by both the presenter and many other callers.

In its statement, FM104 said that, having reviewed the audio: “The ‘n-word’ was not spoken at any point by anybody contributing to the programme and, therefore, there is no case to answer in this particular matter.”

After considering the complaint, The BAI committee noted that the programme is “one driven by audience interaction” and “broadcast after the ‘watershed’ when more adult content may be heard”.

However, the committee said these factors don’t “remove the obligation on the broadcaster to put limits on content that would reasonably be expected to cause undue offence”.

The BAI noted that while the man’s comments were challenged throughout the programme, his views were “extremely racist in nature and amounted to hate speech”, so the complaint was upheld.

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Órla Ryan

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