Broadcasting Authority Seeks Views on Draft Code of Programme Standards

Press Release

1st July 2014

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) launched, on the 1st July 2014, a public consultation on proposals for a revised draft Code of Programme Standards that will apply to all Irish broadcasters.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 requires the BAI to prepare codes and rules and to review the effect of such codes and rules in accordance with the timeframes specified in the Act.  Following a review of the current Code of Programme Standards, which has been in operation since 2007, the BAI has prepared a revised draft Code of Programme Standards and is now seeking the views of the public, broadcasters and interested organisations.

There are seven guiding principles underpinning the draft code.  They are respect for community standards; importance of context; protection from harm; protection of children; respect for persons and groups in society; protection of the public interest; and respect for privacy.

The consultation will remain open until 22nd August and there are a variety of ways in which submissions can be made.

Speaking at the launch of the public consultation the Chairperson of the BAI, Bob Collins, said: “Developing a Code of Programme Standards is a challenging task, not least because there is no absolute, universally shared sense of what standards are or what should be observed.  This code, as the Authority sees it, is a service to broadcasters and audiences alike.  It does not attempt to limit the reasonable editorial freedom of any broadcaster.  Rather, it recognises the entitlement of the audience to have its deeply held convictions respected, its complexity and diversity recognised and reflected and those who are vulnerable protected.

“Harm and offence are important issues for the law and they are complex issues for the regulator, particularly when drafting a code such as this.  There is no right not to be offended.  There is however a right not to be harmed by what is broadcast.  The concerns of children are of serious significance in this context and are specifically noted in the code.

“Much of what the draft code provides is already reflected in the way responsible broadcasters approach their important work.  What the Authority hopes is that this code will encourage the highest possible standards in the service provided to the audience,” Mr. Collins said.

Also speaking at the launch the Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said:  “In preparing this draft code, the BAI undertook a review of the effect of the current Code of Programme Standards.  The outcomes of the review highlighted that while the content of the existing Code of Programme Standards remains relevant, the structure and wording of the code may require revision.  In an effort to make the code more user-friendly and understandable, the draft code prioritises a principles-based approach but also provides specific guidance to broadcasters as to how these principles might be fulfilled.

“I want to emphasise that this is a draft code and we are keen to hear the views of the public and of broadcasters before the code is finalised,” Mr. O’Keeffe said.

Submissions

Responses can be submitted online, by email or by post. 

Online:  Go to www.baifuture.ie, where you can download and/or listen to the draft Code and submit your response.

Email:  Submit your response by email to programmestandards@bai.ie

Post:  Submit your response in writing to: BAI Draft Code of Programme Standards, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2.

Contact: Catherine Heaney / Tony Heffernan

DHR Communications

01 4200580 / 087 2309835 / 087 2399508

 

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