The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s 96FM has had a complaint part upheld against it for comments made about non-Irish residents in Ireland.
The complainant states that the presenter’s comments were, in his opinion, “vile accusations, laced with prejudice and with no veracity in reality whatsoever”. The complainant states that by making these statements on air the presenter “puts non-Irish members of society at risk by associating them with what has taken place in this country over the previous five years. This is nothing more than a racist accusation which belies the reality of the situation.”
The broadcast, on 14th May 2013, consisted of a monologue by the presenter outlining his personal views on issues including cronyism on the part of politicians, the public service and its staffing and adequacy and payment of social welfare to recipients that the presenter believed did not deserve payment (including non-Irish members of society).
The complainant also notes that nowhere in the presenter’s contribution did he state that he was summarising public opinion. Rather, the complainant notes that the presenter is well-known for voicing his own opinions and it is fair to surmise that what he said on air was his opinion alone or could be taken as such by listeners. The complainant believes that the presenter and 96FM are in gross violation of the standards laid down by the BAI.
The broadcaster states that the comments made by their presenter summarised recent listener opinion on inequality in Irish society and were a small part of the on-air debate and the comments cannot be viewed in isolation. 96FM disagree wholeheartedly with the opinion of the complainant.
The BAI, after consideration of the complaint and a review of the programme, says the absence of this alternative perspective on matters of public controversy and debate was considered contrary to the requirements incumbent on news and current affairs content. For this reason, that element of the complaint relating to fairness, objectivity and impartiality in news and current affairs has been upheld.
The regulator did not agree with the complainant that the item was in breach of the Code of Programme Standards for the reasons specified in his complaint. While the presenter’s remarks about non-Irish members of society may have offended some listeners, the Committee did not agree that they would support or condone discrimination contrary to the requirement of the Code of Programme Standards in the manner suggested by the complainant.