The Election Moratorium

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There have been a few questions asked about the Election Broadcasting Moratorium which is changing this year in comparison to previous elections. This year, broadcasters will be allowed to cover the election up until 2pm on Thursday.

From the BAI Guidance

Radio and television broadcasters shall observe a moratorium on coverage of an election. The moratorium will operate from 2pm on the day before the poll takes place and throughout the day of the poll itself until polling stations close.

Electioneering and/or references to election issues and/or references by any on-air personnel, (including guests) to the merits or otherwise of the election candidate(s) and their policies shall not be broadcast while the moratorium is in operation.

The Guidance goes on to note

  • The moratorium is not intended to preclude coverage during this period of legitimate news and current affairs stories that are unrelated to an election. However, broadcasters should avoid airing content (including breaking news stories) that the broadcaster believes is intended and/or likely to influence or manipulate voter decisions during the moratorium period.
  • Steps should be taken to ensure that overnight programme repeats scheduled during the moratorium do not contain material that would breach the moratorium. Broadcasters are advised to either edit programmes (if practical) or schedule an alternative programme so as to avoid accidental breaches of the moratorium.
  • Coverage of news items such as the opening hours of polling stations, voter turn-out, factual reports on voting by political party leaders and other representatives of electoral interests etc., is permissible once it complies with the moratorium.
  • Particular care should be taken around the opinions expressed by any programme contributors, during the period covered by the moratorium.The moratorium extends to all areas of programming including newspaper reviews, coverage of opinion polls, information announcements etc. Particular care is necessary when commenting upon or covering newspaper reviews as the print media is not subject to a moratorium.
It is important to also note the moratorium does not apply to websites or to on the ground canvassers. Canvassers are only banned from anywhere within 100m of a polling station on the day of the election so do not be surprised if a canvasser calls to your door on Thursday evening! 

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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