Thursday 27 October 2016

D'Arcy's radio show is under fire again for discussion on abortion

Show host Ray D’Arcy (Picture: Mark Doyle)
Show host Ray D’Arcy (Picture: Mark Doyle)

RTE presenter Ray D'Arcy's radio show has come under fire for its handling of an interview on the subject of abortion.

The show had two complaints against it - one of which was upheld and the other upheld in part by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

The complaint was made in relation to an interview with Father Ted writer Graham Linehan and his wife, Helen, on October 19 last year.

Submitted under the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, the complaint argued that the presenter "promoted his personal view in respect of abortion" during the discussion.


The interview came about on the back of a video of the Father Ted writer and his wife in which they talked about their experience of a diagnosis that their first baby would not survive birth.

The complainant argued that D'Arcy "ignored the side effects/harmful effects of abortion" and allowed comments from the interviewees "which should have been challenged".

In response, RTE said the show's format "includes human interest interviews" and "does not generally include the hosting of debates between antagonists".

It added that the discussion with the Linehans "was conducted in the exploratory, conversational style" which is known and expected by the audience.

RTE told the BAI that prior to the interview, it sought statements from the Pro-Life Campaign and Every Life Counts which were read out during the interview.


In response the BAI took into account the video for Amnesty International which was discussed on the show and which advocated a pro-choice stance.

"Having reviewed the content, the Committee noted that the interviewees made consistent and strong criticisms of the approach of the Irish State to access to abortion and what they saw as the impact of the law on Irish men and women and on the medical profession," the BAI decision read.

Another complaint against the same interview was upheld in part on similar grounds, while rejecting part of the complaint which said the presenter (D'Arcy) acted in a manner that amounted to the advocating of a partisan view.

The BAI also upheld complaints against the show in December following an interview with Amnesty International director Colm O'Gorman. This complaint also regarded the issue of abortion.

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