Response from the BAI to complaints re the Saturday Night Show

If you write to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland about the recent Panti/Saturday Night Show excitement, you will likely get a reply something like that below.
If you want to make an effective complaint, you should note that;

  1. You should make sure your complaint is about the statement read on the 25th January
  2. You should send on your initial complaint to RTE and its response (or non-response, as the case may be) with your BAI complaint
  3. That they seem to be saying they want complaints to be made from now on using their Complaint form . They don’t say what happens to complaints made from now on which don’t use that form.
    Here’s a link to that form
  4. That there is a pretty short time limit of 14 days from the date of your response from RTE for making your BAI complaint.

I certainly don’t think that 3 would be an appropriate response, if it is actually intended to be the BAI’s policy to distinguish between complaints made with or without their internally generated form. It feels like a unnecessarily bureaucratic response to concerns clearly expressed by the public.

Here’s the BAI’s own reply.

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email about The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ 1 television.

Due to the large number of complaints received about this programme, our reply to your email will deal with all of the main issues raised by those who have written to us on this matter. The main elements of complaints received so far relate to:-

1)         The statement read on The Saturday Night Show on the 25th January, in response to the original broadcast aired on 11th;

2)         Reports that RTÉ has paid compensation in respect of comments included in the programme of 11th January;

3)         The re-editing of the programme of 11th January, currently available on the RTÉ Player;

4)         The reference to journalist, Mr. John Waters, as a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

The statement provided during the programme broadcast on the 25th January is the only element of the complaints received that the BAI can address. The other issues relate to operational decisions made by RTÉ or relate to content held online. In both cases, the BAI has no regulatory role and these are matters for RTÉ and its Board of Management. Regarding Mr. John Waters, please note that Mr. Waters is no longer a serving member of the BAI. The BAI issued a statement following his resignation and this can be viewed here:

The BAI can consider complaints against any programme, as aired, and if you believe that the statement broadcast on the 25th January infringed the requirements of the Broadcasting Act and/or the BAI’s broadcasting codes, then it is open to you to make a complaint. Information on the complaints process is set out below:

•           If you have not already sent your complaint to RTÉ, please note that it is the BAI’s policy to direct complainants to the relevant broadcaster in the first place. Complaints must be submitted to the broadcaster within 30 days of the date on which the programme was aired.  The broadcaster should then respond within the timeframe specified in their Code of Practice for Complaints Handling, which is 20 working days in the case of complaints sent to RTÉ. Please allow this period of time for a response. A copy of the RTÉ Code of Practice for Complaints Handling can be found here:

•           If you are not satisfied with the response from the broadcaster and/or the broadcaster does not respond to your complaint within the timeframe specified in their Code of Practice for Complaints Handling, you may then refer your complaint to the BAI. You are asked to refer any complaints within 14 days following this period by completing the attached referral form and indicating clearly the section/s of the Broadcasting Act/BAI Codes you believe, in this case, that the statement broadcast has breached.   Information on the complaints handling process, including a copy of the complaint referral form, can be found here:

•           In the case of those complaint referrals which have already been submitted to the BAI for consideration, these will now be processed in line with the procedures detailed in our Guide to the Complaints Handling Process.

Further responses to the BAI should be addressed to [email protected].

I trust this information is of assistance to you.

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