The Broadcasting Association of Ireland has upheld a complaint against RTÉ Radio One’s The Mooney Show, about a discussion on civil partnership and civil marriage last January.
The complainant, Dónal O’Latchford-Sullivan of the Family and Media Association, said both guests and the presenter made statements supporting same-sex marriage, while the opposing argument was not represented. Presenter Derek Mooney said on-air, “I hope you do get gay marriage… I hope it does come in.”
The item on the show featured Michael Murphy, who was in the studio to tell his story as one of the first gay people in Ireland to “tie the knot”. Tiernan Brady from Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) was also on hand to talk about civil partnership and civil marriage in general.
In response to the complaint, RTÉ said the item was not intended to be nor presented as a debate on same-sex marriage, but was merely a “discussion of the experience of civil partnership.”
Despite this, the BAI ruled that “the requirements in respect of fairness, objectivity and impartiality in news and current affairs had not been met”.
Today, GLEN Chair Kieran Rose said that BAI’s decision raises worrying concerns about open public debate. He commented, “Can lesbian and gay people not now talk about their lives and their aspirations as Irish citizens on the airwaves, or about their experiences of love and commitment without somebody opposing them?
“The ruling has implications for all issues that are topics under public discussion, not just lesbian and gay issues” said Rose.
“Does it now mean contributors to a broadcast programme may not now talk about possible future constitutional change on any issue, unless the programme segment has opposing views?
“We would have serious concerns that this ruling would restrict open debate on issues that directly impact lesbian and gay people in Ireland,” Rose concluded.
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