The BAI has today published its new Guidelines in Respect of Coverage of Referenda.
The Guidelines, which have immediate effect, have been issued to all broadcasters in the State in advance of the referenda being held on 4th October, 2013. The referenda concern the proposal to establish a new Court of Appeal and the proposal to abolish Seanad Éireann.
The Guidelines are provided for under rule 27 of the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs and contain advice on the approach to be taken to coverage of the referenda. They also include a number of requirements that broadcasters must meet, further to the provisions of the BAI Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs.
The Guidelines address considerations such as the role and responsibility of broadcasting personnel, audience participation, opinion polls and the allocation of airtime.
More generally, the Guidelines encourage broadcasters to cover referendum campaigns as comprehensively as possible and to seek out the widest range of opinions from the beginning of the public debate. The Guidelines also require compliance with a moratorium on coverage of the referenda.
This comes into effect from 2pm on Thursday 3rd October and ends following the closing of polling stations on 4th October.