"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.