BAI Publish Complaint Decisions

The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) have publish their decisions on complaints made to them by the public in relation to Broadcaster in Ireland. The publication comes after the sitting of the BAI's compliance committee, which was held in October 2012. The committee upheld five complaints, of which 4 were in relation to TV3's late night phone-in show “Psychic Readings Live”.

TV3 - Psychic Readings Live

The BAI upheld four complaints made against TV3 in relation to their late premium phone-in show "Psychic Readings Live". The complaints were about shows, which broadcast in June, July and August of 2012.

The committee upheld the first complaint on the grounds that during a broadcast of "Psychic Live Reading" the presenter/psychic was giving a fact rather then an opinion and that the broadcast was not just for entertainment purposes. The BAI also ruled that the broadcast did not meet the requirements of their general commercial communications code Section 3.1 that "commercial communications shall be legal, honest, decent and truthful and protect the interests of the audience."

The second complaint centred around a broadcast on the 30th of July. The complaint stated that the psychic gave a definitive yes answers to many of question put to them, the complaint also took issue with the larger lettering of the phone number over other information.

TV3 responded to this complaint by saying "TV3 points out that the show is at all times identified as an ‘Entertainment Service’ using a strap in the left hand corner of the screen. This meets the requirements of both the BAI’s Code and ComReg’s Premium rate Service Code of Practice. Furthermore, to ensure that viewers are fully informed, the strap at the bottom of the screen states that it is a commercial presentation and when callers ring the service they are informed that ‘calls are for entertainment purposes and are recorded’."

TV3 also state that as the show is live the psychic may forget to say that what is being said is an opinion rather than a fact, but that statements such as "All statements are a matter of opinion and not fact" are said on several occasion during the broadcast.

The committee also upheld this complaint and two further complaints about the show on similar grounds.

Ocean FM - Sunday Spirit

One other complaint was upheld by the Committee against Ocean FM and their Sunday show "Sunday Spirit" and a discussion between the shows presenter and an interviewee on abortion in Ireland. The complaint stated that "in his opinion, the presenter guided the debate by putting words into the interviewee’s mouth by saying ‘so you see no need for legislation for the ABC case’?". The complainant also noted that, while the show is a religious programme this should not deflect from rules surrounding impartiality on a political subject.

Ocean FM did not reply to the complaint as the email they received landed in their spam box. Their reply to the BAI stated "The question is whether on a specialist programme that is plainly focused on themes of a spiritual and religious nature, a pro-choice view should have been sought and used to balance the content. Ocean FM states they would not expect a specialist religious programme to do anything other than air a religious perspective. They do, however, take the issue of objectivity and impartiality very seriously in their news and current affairs coverage and have always respected the spirit and the letter of the Code."

The complaint was upheld.