So after waiting for every single last one of the twenty working days they had available (and counting a day that the rest of us were working on as a non-working day), RTE responded after the BAI referral went in, and their response is by turns factually incorrect, deceptive, insulting and cynical:
As mentioned before both here and elsewhere, Prime Time recently pulled a rather unpleasant hatchet job on target shooting for a second time in a row. As you do (or at least, as you should do), I sent in a complaint to RTE about the program the next day. The email was acknowledged and then completely ignored. No further contact of any kind within the twenty working days the Broadcasting Act allows them to draft a reply. So the next step is to complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which got done this evening after the close of business on the last day in the 20 day window.
The Broadcasting Act seems sympathetic:
39. (1) Every broadcaster shall ensure that—
(a) all news broadcast by the broadcaster is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views,
(b) the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of his or her own views,
As do several sections of the BAI Code:
1. In their treatment of news and current affairs content broadcasters shall comply with section 39 (1) (a) & (b), section 39 (2) and section 39 (5) & (6) of the Broadcasting Act 2009.
2. In their treatment of news and current affairs content broadcasters shall comply with the following principles as articulated in this Code:
Objectivity & Impartiality;
Accuracy & Responsiveness;
Transparency & Accountability.
3. A broadcaster shall deal fairly with contributors to current affairs content or with persons or organisations referred to in that content.
9. The editing process shall not distort the context or meaning of the original interview.
17. News and current affairs content shall be presented with due accuracy, having regard to the circumstances and the facts known at the time of preparing and broadcasting the content.
19. Views and facts shall not be misrepresented or presented in such a way as to render them misleading. Presenters should be sensitive to the impact of their language and tone in reporting news and current affairs so as to avoid misunderstanding of the matters covered.
20. A significant mistake shall be acknowledged and rectified as speedily as possible, in an appropriate and proportionate manner. A broadcast correction or clarification shall have regard to the time and circumstances of the original broadcast.
But will it do any good in the end? I don’t know. But what’s the alternative when our system treats silence as consent?
Late last week the Joint Oireachtas Committee published its Interim Report on its review of Irish Firearms Legislation. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some of its recommendations are just good; some could be good but how they’re implemented will determine if they’re good or bad; and at least one of them is actually not legal.
Here’s the shortlist of the recommendations: (more…)
Today the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality issued the following statement:
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality has this morning agreed to seek a range of academic perspectives as part of its on-going consideration of a recent review of firearms licencing issues. The Committee hopes that the input of experts, with independent analysis of the current trends in Ireland and optimum policy in other jurisdictions, will assist the Committee as it considers this complex policy area.
The Committee has also agreed to write to the Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald to ask her to consider requesting the Garda Inspectorate to independently assess the procedures and practices related to firearms licencing and the proposals contained in the Firearms Review, which was published by the Joint Department of Justice and Equality / Garda Síochána Working Group last November.
Following a call for public submissions, the Committee hosted a series of meetings in December and January with both the Working Group and representatives of shooting clubs with concerns around the Review’s findings. A delegation from the Committee also visited Garda HQ and Nurney Firing Range last month to hear at first hand the differing perspectives on the issue.
Committee Chairman David Stanton TD says: ““Having issued a call for public submissions and hosted valuable discussions on the Review’s findings in Leinster House, the Committee understands that there are differing perspectives on the holding of firearms and firearm licensing. The visits to Garda HQ and the Nurney firing range last month– and the detailed briefings received – helped to further inform the Committee in shaping our own response to the Review.
“This an extraordinarily complex and emotive policy area, and the Committee remains intent on charting a balanced and proportionate course as it weighs up the strong arguments on both sides. We are acutely conscious that any policy decisions taken in this area must be underpinned by reliable statistics and an understanding of best practice in other jurisdictions. With this in mind, the Committee is now seeking advice from leading academics working in the area, and may decide to invite them to engage with the Committee at future public hearings. The Committee also agreed to ask Minister Fitzgerald to give consideration to engaging the Garda Inspectorate to conduct an independent analysis of the issues at hand.”
Well, if you were watching RTE tonight, you pretty much know why a hundred thousand or so people in Ireland are feeling fairly annoyed at the use their TV licence fee has been put to tonight.
The full debacle is up on the RTE player here if you really want to torture yourself more:
But instead, I’d recommend writing an email to email@example.com. Here’s mine in case it’s of any use to you:
I wish to make several complaints regarding the above Prime Time
report, on the grounds that it violated the Broadcasting Act 2009,
Section 39(1)(a) and 39(1)(b). My specific complaints are:
As mentioned earlier, there’s a review of the Firearms Act being proposed, and we’ve already submitted our comments to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and appeared before them about this (even with the odd funny moment). However, the Department of Justice was also seeking submissions of comments about their proposals, so here are mine. Most of this was the same as for the submission to the Joint Committee, but there are some significant changes here and there (and it’s a bit shorter too).
Here’s the pdf, as the Word->Web translation tends to mess up the formatting horribly…
There were some interesting moments from the Joint Committee presentation, so I thought I’d extract them from the several hours of footage and post them up here as I went. Here’s the first, my own personal bugbear (and please note the Deputy accepting the point at the end, because the Examiner missed that bit…):
(You’re probably going to have to click on that to read it, but it’s a large image; here’s the pdf if you want it)
Everything in black is an Irish Act (primary legislation). Red is an EU directive. Blue is an Irish Statutory Instrument (secondary legislation). Anything in italics has been repealed and is just there for historical accuracy (there’s only three).
I’ve tried to keep the Acts as close to an accurate place on the time index as I can, but with the SIs I just tried to keep them readably closely associated to their respective acts.
I’ve omitted minor Acts (like the various finance acts bar the most recent one pertaining to us) which make only minor rules that wouldn’t affect most of us day to day.
Everything in the green box must be read together to form the Firearms Act, as amended.
And ye wonder why the legislation side of things has eaten so many manhours in the last decade?