Complaints against RTE apology to John Waters and Iona rejected by BAI

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The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has rejected three complaints against the apology RTE made to John Waters and membersrte.jpg of The Iona Institute following accusations against them by Rory O’Neill on the Saturday Night Show in January.

The complaints were that RTE should not apologise for comments made by guests, that what O’Neill said was correct, that RTE was taking effectively taking an editorial view that opposition to same-sex marriage was not ‘homophobic’, and that a restriction had been placed by RTE on discussing ‘homophobia’.

The BAI rejected the complaints on the grounds that RTE has an editorial right to make these decisions for itself.

It also ruled that the station’s duty to be fair and impartial had not been breached because the apology did not imply endorsements of the view of John Waters or The Iona Institute and it did not mean the station was taking an editorial position on homophobia or restricting discussion of the issue.

The BAI said “broadcasters must be free to take measures to ameliorate the impact of a broadcast that it believes has infringed its legal obligations, including the airing of apologies as a legal remedy to claims of defamation”

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