The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have launched a
consultation on their Broadcasting Code on Referenda and Election Coverage (PDF). While it contains all the usual stuff on fair and equal access and the ban on political advertisements, it also upholds the Moratorium as applied at the General Election earlier this year.
While reading through the draft code, I came upon an issue, should the same Moratorium be applied to Referenda and Elections?
In the case of elections I can see very little reason for a moratorium. People understand that they are choosing betweens parties and individuals and need as much information as possible and the Broadcast media is instrumental in providing this. We have also seen in other countries who do not have a moratorium, that very little changes on day before.
But should referenda be treated differently? Should we till have a full day moratorium so that people can reflect on all the information and not have to deal with spin (on bother sides). In the last few referenda we have seen misinformation on all sides, by allowing broadcast media to broadcast on the day before a referenda gives either side a chance to get out another miss-truth giving the other side little or no time to respond. By giving the full day before the polls opening, it can give people time to reflect on all the information.
What do you think?