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Immigrant council "deeply disappointed" with BAI ruling over sex trade ads

BAI upheld part of complaint which said that ad concerning prostitution in Ireland was directed towards a ‘political end’.

THE IMMIGRANT COUNCIL of Ireland says it is “deeply disappointed” with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s decision to uphold a complaint against an advertisement the council ran concerning Ireland’s sex trade.

The council’s ad was aired on Newstalk Radio earlier this year as part of the council’s role in the wider Turn off the Red Light campaign against prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland.

An individual complaint was lodged with the BAI in February arguing that the ad was directed towards a political end, which the BAI’s compliance committee ruled is in breach of Section 9 of the BAI’s general commercial communications code.

The complainant also claimed that part of the ad was factually inaccurate for claiming that sex with a prostitute is never consensual. This part of the complaint was not upheld because the BAI said that the role of its compliance committee “does not extend to making findings of fact” when considering ads of this nature.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland’s CEO Denise Charlton  said that the organisation is “deeply disappointed that one of the avenues which we have been using to highlight the abuse of women in communities across Ireland has been closed down to us”.

“The decision stands in stark contrast to the open view the Commission has taken to similar campaigns on TV and  radio highlighting human rights abuses in other parts of the world. Highlighting the abuse of rights here is surely just as valid,” Charlton added.

The council’s Nusha Yankova told this afternoon that the BAI decision does not influence the direction of its campaign.

“For us, it is simply disappointing that this part of the complaint was upheld following an individual complaint,” she said. “We are not [lobbying for] changing the law, we are just campaigning to close a loophole in legislation where we have spotted an anomaly as far as prostitution is concerned.”

“We will continue to campaign.”

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