More abortion complaints for RTÉ’s Ray D’Arcy

The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 has attracted another two upheld complaints about the discussion of abortion.

This time, the complaints refer to an interview with Mrs and Mr Edwards undertaken on the day that the United National Human Rights Committee made critical findings in respect of Irish law on abortion. The interview focused on their experience of the termination of a pregnancy, where a fatal foetal abnormality was present, and their views on the UNHRC findings.

In the first complaint, the complainant says the interview appeared to be a personal story with a political campaigning message tagged on. The second questioned where the balance and equality is in this programme and how, given findings by the BAI against this programme, that it remains biased in its coverage of this topic.

RTÉ says the interview had a clear editorial context, responding to news of the day, and refutes the allegation in the complaint that opposition to the UN ruling and its support was “cursory”. The broadcaster states that, in fact, in his introduction the presenter quoted from the submission on behalf of the Irish State to the UNHRC.

RTÉ acknowledges that it would have been preferable to have mentioned that the interviewees are members of the group Termination for Medical Reasons, referred to in the interview. But, as the interviewees were not appearing on behalf of the group, putting its point of view or supporting its campaign to change legislation, but simply speaking of their own experience, RTÉ says this information was not required for the listeners’ understanding of the item or in the interests of transparency.

Ray D’Arcy has had a number of other complaints over the last couple of years on the same subject, and once again on this occasion, it was the Committee’s opinion that the broadcast did not comply with the fairness, objectivity and impartiality requirements of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Accordingly, the complaints have been upheld.

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