The BAI has upheld a complaint about the FM104 Phone Show from July 13th this year, surrounding the topic of special needs.
The complainant, Mrs. Theresa Finn, says she was appalled and disgusted at what she considered to be the vile abuse that was allowed to be broadcast in relation to the topic of special needs children being excluded from summer camps. She said that broadcasting comments referring to an autistic child as having no mind of their own; not being “all there” and calling them the abusive term ‘mongos’ is irresponsible.
The comments were made by a caller, and the presenter of the show called his views “idiotic”, “insulting” and “ignorant” and the station says he was eventually cut-off.
The broadcaster states that the complainant’s concerns will be taken into consideration in the future. However, FM104 points out that this show is aired after the watershed of 9pm and does carry a warning before and during the programme, that the show is unsuitable for anyone under 15 years of age. Notwithstanding this, the broadcaster unreservedly apologises for any upset caused to the complainant by the views of their listeners.
The BAI Compliance Committee unanimously upheld the complaint, saying that while audiences do not have an automatic right not to be offended by programme content, the BAI’s Code of Programme Standards sets out certain limits in respect of acceptable content. It was the view of the Committee that the caller’s views were extremely offensive, who said the caller could have been stopped earlier in the conversation. It also pointed out that there was no evidence from the broadcaster that the presenter or the programme makers ended the call.
The BAI has also investigated two other complaints, against Neil Prendeville on Cork’s Red FM and Niall Boylan on Classic Hits FM but rejected them.