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Coimisiún na Meán publishes updated guidelines for broadcast  coverage of elections

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Coimisiún na Meán has today (30.04.24) published its Guidelines in Respect of Broadcast Coverage of Elections. The Guidelines provide direction and advice to broadcasters as to how fairness, objectivity and impartiality can be achieved in their coverage of elections.

The Guidelines are being published in advance of the European and Local Elections and the election for a directly elected Mayor of Limerick, scheduled to take place on 7th June next. The Guidelines come into effect from Tuesday 7th May 2024 and apply to coverage of the elections until the closing of polling stations on 7th June 2024.

The Guidelines highlight different approaches that may be taken to the allocation of airtime for coverage of candidates and political parties as well as the risks of ‘deepfakes’. Existing provisions are retained which relate to the management of conflicts of interest, the prohibition on political advertising and coverage of opinion polls.

Other matters addressed include on-air contributions via social media and a prohibition on broadcasters and presenters encouraging listeners or viewers to vote in support of or against any particular outcome in the elections. The Guidelines also encourage broadcasters to include a range of voices and opinions in their coverage, including a mix of views representing social, gender and cultural diversity.

Speaking about the publication of the Guidelines, Coimisiún na Meán’s Media Development Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “Broadcasters play an important and valuable role in communicating information about elections to the Irish public. This is achieved via accurate, fair, objective and impartial coverage.

“The Guidelines retain the moratorium on election coverage. This requires broadcasters to limit coverage of the elections from 2pm on the day prior to an election or referendum and remains in place until the closing of the polls on the day of the election or referendum (10pm).

“When the statutory review of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, which provides the basis for the Guidelines, was undertaken in 2022, there was a clear call from industry stakeholders for the moratorium to be removed, while public stakeholders had mixed views about its retention or removal.  Having regard to these findings, Coimisiún na Meán has committed to carrying out a review of the broadcast moratorium in the second half of this year, including the undertaking of a public consultation. It is intended to complete this review and publish updated Guidelines dealing with the moratorium in Quarter 4 2024, if warranted by the review.’’

  • The Guidelines in Respect of Coverage of Elections are available for download here
  • The Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality is available to download here