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Complaint about Brendan O'Carroll's on-air gay marriage support rejected

BAI says having people on both sides of every debate is not an “absolute requirement”.

mrs-browns-boys-dmovie-premiere-dublin-3 Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney Source: Artur Widak/PA Wire/Press Association Images

BROADCASTERS DON’T HAVE to include people on both sides of every debate after a recent complaint against an RTÉ radio show for failing to provide balance on same-sex marriage was rejected.

The industry watchdog, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), today said it was not an “absolute requirement” for individuals carrying all views to be featured on a programme – as long as there was “fairness” in the way the topic was dealt with.

It came after a complaint from Ray McIntyre about a slot on RTÉ Radio One’s The Marian Finucane Show in June which dealt with same-sex marriage.

McIntyre claimed no panellist “challenged the view that legislation for same-sex marriage would be anything but good, right and progressive”.

The host on the day, comedian Brendan O’Carroll, should have provided the balance in the absence of any opposing views but “indeed, quite the reverse took place”, he also claimed.

Joe Duffys Christmas Eve Shows Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

BAI says no

But the BAI said its committee didn’t think O’Carroll “actively endorsed” proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, although the programme could have “benefited from more active engagement by the presenter with the guests”.

It said the issue would be dealt with fairly as long as some guests put forward the views of those who opposed the change – as it believed happened on the programme.

Last month the BAI upheld another complaint from McIntyre, this time about Newstalk presenter Chris Donoghue stating his support for same-sex marriage on-air. Donoghue branded that ruling “daft and depressing”.

The BAI has bit back against censorship claims on the issue, despite separately ruling that RTÉ Radio One’s Mooney also broke regulations in broadcasting a piece that supported gay marriage.

READ: The Save Eye’s ‘foul-mouthed children’ did not break broadcasting rules >

READ: ‘Exaggerated and inaccurate’: RTÉ denies bias in election coverage as complaint is rejected >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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