As the calls reported on today seem not to fall within the political communication exception- not coming from any recognised political party, candidate or candidate for election- each call complained of could potentially attract an individual criminal conviction and fine. Only calls which prompt a complaint can attract any conviction.
Complaints to the Data Protection Commissioner can be made on-line for free.
A number of people have complained after receiving unsolicited calls regarding abortion in Ireland tonight. The calls, which were first mentioned on Twitter earlier this evening, claim to quote Eamon O’Dwyer, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynaecology at NUI Galway. The call goes on to say that Irish doctors do not put mothers’ lives at risk and mentions the “tragic loss of a young woman in Galway”, alluding to the case of Savita Halappanavar.
It says that Ireland’s abortion ban does not stop doctors from saving women’s lives and that Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. When the number 01-4402522 is called, it also asks the person receiving the message to leave a message on “whether we should continue to protect mother and child under our current pro-life laws, or legislate for abortion based under the British model or any thoughts you have if you are unsure”. People who received the phone calls claim they were asked to press numbers to vote on different subjects.
Listen to the call here
One user of Twitter advised those who received calls ” should notify the DPC. Use of autodiallers is governed under SI336.” The Data Protection Commissioner’s website can be found here.
The calls come after an estimated two thousand people protested outside of The Dáil tonight calling for legislation on abortion in Ireland following the case of Savita Halappanavar.
If you get a message like this, please contact us on the site or on our Facebook page.
REPORTS HAVE BEEN appearing online of automated calls being made to Irish phones on the topic of abortion.
The call, from a Dublin number, says it has a message from a medical and obstetrics expert saying that Irish doctors do not put mothers’ lives at risk and are always obliged to intervene to save mothers’ lives, even if that results in the unfortunate death of an unborn child.
The message also mentions the tragic loss of a young woman in Galway – although it does not mention Savita Halappanavar by name – and follows that by saying “claims that doctors cannot intervene to save mothers who are in danger is untrue”.
It says that the ban on abortion does not prevent doctors acting to save women’s lives, and Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. According to people who have received the call, the pre-recorded message asks the person answering the call to press a button to give an indication of their views on abortion in Ireland.
When the phone number is rung, people are invited to leave their thoughts on “whether we should continue to protect mother and child under our current pro-life laws, or legislate for abortion based under the British model or [leave] any thoughts you have if you are unsure”.
A number of Twitter users said they have received a similar unsolicited call, with one user saying her landline number was unlisted.
Source on the JOurnal.ie
"That was the single most horrifically biased TV programme we've ever seen. No pro-choice person; presenter obviously anti-choice; anti-choice spokeperson given far more than her fair share of speaking time; anti-choice spokesperson given entirely free rein to finish up the show. Complain here." - Savita's Laws.
To whom it may concern,
Having watched tonight's Prime Time show I want to lodge a complaint about the programme. The programme was clearly biased and did not constitute an impartial or well-rounded portrayal of the debates and issues concerning abortion and Savita Halappanavar's case. There was no panellist from the pro-choice side of the debate, and no women's rights advocates. The National Women's Council of Ireland, for example, would have made a welcome addition to a discussion that absolutely lacked a women's representative. The programme makers could also have included one of the many women in Ireland who have had a termination. Instead, we had the medical representatives, the pro-life campaigner, and the politician. When will the voices of women who are directly impacted by the issues under discussion be heard?
I expect to hear from you regarding my complaint.
I am writing to complain about the biased nature of this evening's Prime Time report on abortion laws in Ireland. I was very disappointed to see that this extremely important debate was not given the serious and professional attention it requires. Instead, the programme portrayed an obvious Pro-Life agenda.
Firstly, there was a complete absence of a Pro-Choice voice on the round table debate. The table contained two independent medical experts, an opposition party representative, a Pro-Life representative, but, inexplicably, no Pro-Choice representative. Independent medical experts should not count as Pro-Choice representatives. The fact that these experts came across as Pro-Choice simply highlights that logic is on the Pro-Choice side. In addition, the fact that RTE preemptively formatted the panel to adjust for this further demonstrates the biased nature of this program.
Secondly, the presenter was clearly leaning towards the Pro-Life side. This was evident in the disproportional amount of time given to the Pro-Life representative. As if this wasn't enough, the final word in the debate was given to the Pro-Life side. Furthermore, the debate was rushed and time was not allowed for any useful discussion to transpire. This, or course, plays into the Pro-Life bias, as an extended debate would only serve to highlight the gaping holes in their arguments. The Pro-Life assertions were repetitive and uninformed, and yet the medical experts were not allowed adequate time to refute.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an excerpt from your own website:
RTÉ is obliged under Section 39 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 to ensure that:
(a) all news broadcast is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster's own views.
(b) the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of his or her own views, except that should it prove impracticable in relation to a single broadcast to apply this paragraph, two or more related broadcasts may be considered as a whole, if the broadcasts are transmitted within a reasonable period of each other.
Do you seriously believe that any of these obligations were fulfilled? As our national broadcaster, RTE has a responsibility to give due respect to all public opinion. It is not acceptable to attempt to force-feed a single conservative agenda to your viewing public.
I await your response.