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Broadcasting complaint over funeral practices upheld

Wednesday, 12th February, 2014 3:17pm
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Broadcasting complaint over funeral practices upheld

Bishop Michael Smith was unhappy with RTE's handling of broadcast.

Broadcasting complaint over funeral practices upheld

Bishop Michael Smith was unhappy with RTE's handling of broadcast.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld a complaint lodged by the Catholic Communications Office on behalf of the Diocese of Meath, concerning a broadcast of Liveline on 14th August last.
Martin Long of the Catholic Communications Office brought the complaint under due accuracy and acknowledge and rectify a mistake under the fairness, objectivity and impartiality in current affairs section. The complaint centred on the funeral eulogies topic being discussed on Liveline.
During the discussion, a caller stated that it was not permissible to offer sympathies to the families of the deceased inside churches in the diocese of Meath, and that his was at the direction of the Bishop of Meath. Mr Long pointed out that this was incorrect and that the ‘Guidelines on the Funeral Mass’ in place for the Diocese of Meath state “clear arrangements allowing people the opportunity to offer sympathy to the family of the deceased should be put in place in each parish.”
The diocesan office informed the programme makers of the guidelines on foot of the programme being broadcast and informed them that in many parishes, including in the Cathedral in Mullingar where the Bishop is the parish priest, the congregation is always invited to sympathise with the family at the top of the church, at both the Removal and Funeral Mass. Mr Long said it was disappointing that this response was not broadcast or that a clarification was not provided by the programme makers in a subsequent broadcast.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld the complaint, stating “that the item did not meet the requirements for fairness in current affairs content and was not presented with due accuracy and should have been rectified by the broadcaster.”
RTÉ will now be requested to air a statement from the Compliance Committee of the BAI. Bishop Michael Smith expressed his appreciation to Mr Martin Long of the Catholic Communications Office for his actions on behalf of the Diocese of Meath.

Click here for the full text of the report from the BAI.

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