Stella mentioned on Thursday that the ads for the Trócaire Lenten campaign on gender inequality was ordered off the air because the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland "prohibits advertising directed towards a political end."
I was pissed off. Think on it - here is Trócaire's mission statement:
Trócaire envisages a just world where people’s dignity is ensured, rights are respected and basic needs are met; where there is equity in the sharing of resources and people are free to be the authors of their own development.
How is any of the above not political?
I said to Bob that I'd love to meet the idiot who made the complaint and ask them why? But Bob said that idiots make complaints like this all the time yet why was it upheld this time? He reminded me that this was an election year and we should try and figure out how Trócaire's campaign hurts the government.
On Thursday, Vincent Brown wrote in Village.ie -
The decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) to instruct all commercial broadcasters, including Today FM and TV3, to cease broadcasting the Trócaire advertisement on gender equality is incomprehensible.
The television and radio advertisement campaign draws attention to the reality that female babies, irrespective of their origin, their ethnicity, their state of health or otherwise, all share a common disadvantage by reason of their gender. The advertisement also includes a section encouraging members of the public to access the charity's website to donate online or order a Trócaire box.
The website in turn asks individuals to participate in the campaign for gender equality by signing a petition lobbying the Irish Government to enact a specific UN resolution on the issue.
The BCI said in defense of its decision: "Following detailed consideration...it is the commission's initial view that the advertisement is contrary to Section 10(3) of the Radio and Television Act, 1988, which prohibits advertising directed towards a political end."
I contrast RTÉ has decided to broadcast the advertisement. Peter Feeney, head of public affairs with RTÉ, said "RTÉ's view is that we define political ends quite tightly....We would feel this Trócaire advertisement is much more general in nature….. we also try to draw a distinction between national campaigns and international campaigns."
The part I put in bold could well be the key to all this.
Trócaire Director Justin Kilcullen said on Newstalk radio on Sunday morning that it was Today FM who brought the issue of the ad to the BCI.
All very interesting.
RTÉ have ignored the BCI's ruling. How can they do this?
Also, someone made the point in the same radio show on Newstalk that the BCI have to come down hard on any ad campaign that pursues a political agenda. Otherwise, we could end up with a situation like in the US where powerful vested interests get all the airwaves.