BAI Makes Codes

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland publishes various codes and standards under section 42 of the Broadcasting Act.  They govern standards and practices which are to be observed by broadcasters.

A copy of the code is to be published on the broadcaster’s website. The broadcasting rules are binding on a broadcaster. The Authority shall every two years or lesser period, review the broadcasting rules.

There is provision for the publication of draft broadcasting codes and rules. They are to be presented to the Minister, who shall cause them to be laid before the Oireachtas.

The Authority make cooperate and assist other persons in the establishment of voluntary codes of conduct.

Code Content and Principles

The Authority shall prepare broadcasting codes. They are to provide

  • that all news broadcast reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner without expression of views,
  • that the current affairs, including matters which a matter of public controversy, is fair to all interests concerned and presented in an objective and impartial manner,
  • that anything which may incite crime is to be broadcast,
  • the privacy of any individual is not to be encroached upon,
  • that audiences are protected from harmful and offensive material, in particular, programme material in respect of the portrayal of violence and sexual conduct, shall be presented by the broadcaster with due sensitivity to the convictions and feelings of the audience, due regard to the impact of such programming on the physical, mental and moral development of children,
  • any advertising, teleshopping material, sponsorship and other forms of commercial promotion employed by the broadcasting service, which likely to directly or indirectly affect the interest to children and protect their interests having regard to the general public health interests of children,
  • advertising, teleshopping, sponsorship and other commercial promotion, other than advertising above are to, protect the interests of the audience.


There are criteria set out in relation to the preparation and revision of broadcasting codes, including the

  • degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of a particular sort of material in programmes generally or of a description,
  • likely size and composition of the potential audience included in television and sound broadcastings are of a particular type of services,
  • likely expectation of the audience as to the nature of a programme’s content and the extent and nature of a programme’s content can be brought to the attention of potential members of the audience,
  • the likelihood of persons who are unaware of the nature of a programme on their own actions,
  • the desirability of securing that the content of a broadcast when there is a change affecting the nature of the service which is being,
  • the desirability of maintaining the independence of editorial control over programme content.


The broadcaster is to give due and adequate considerations to complaints made on grounds below in writing by a person in respect of the broadcasting services which, in the opinion of the broadcaster, is made in good faith. A complaint is to be made within 30 days after the date of the broadcast, in the case of broadcasts, or in the case of series of broadcasts, the later date.

A broadcaster shall implement a code of practice for the handling of complaints. They shall make provision for the initial point of contact for complainants, including e-mail address, time period in which the broadcaster shall respond, procedures to be followed by the broadcaster for resolution of the complaints.

Persons, who believe a programme has not complied with the principles and requirements of the codes, may make a complaint to the BAI.  The Codes apply to broadcasters within the jurisdiction only.  They are revised and updated from time to time.

Programme Content

News broadcasters must present news in an objective and impartial manner without expression of view in accordance with the Code of fairness Impartiality and Objectivity in News and Affairs.  The Code also requires them in the treatment of current affairs including matters which are of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, to be fair to all interests concerned.

The broadcast matter is to be presented in an objective and impartial manner without expression of views.  The following principles are set out in legislation and supplemented by Codes.

The Code of programming standards implements various statutory obligations including refraining from broadcasting anything that is likely to promote or incite crime or undermine the authority of the State.  It requires that the privacy of individuals be not unreasonably encroached upon.

In the allocation of time for transmitting party political broadcasting, they must not give unfair preference to any political party.

In respect of programme material broadcast, audiences are to be protected from harmful or offensive material.

In particular programme material in respect of portrayal of violence and sexual conduct, shall be broadcast with views sensitivity to the convictions and feelings of the audience and with due regard to the impact of such programming on the physical, mental or moral development of children (Code of Programme Standards).

Commercial Communications Code

The General Commercial Communications Code deals with advertising, teleshopping materials, sponsorship and other forms of commercial broadcast other than those relating to children.

Broadcasting codes may prohibit classes of foods and beverages to be subject of public concern in respect of general public health interests of children, in particular, contain fat, trans-fatty acids, salts or sugars. In preparing code, the Authority may consult with the relevant public health authorities.

The Authority shall make broadcasting rules in relation to

  • the total number of transmission of advertisements and teleshopping material as may be allowed,
  • maximum periods allowed for the transmission of advertisements, teleshopping in respect of different classes of service,
  • specific steps a broadcaster must take in relation to persons who are blind, partially sighted, deaf or have a hearing impairment. This may include a provision in relation to Teletext, subtitling, and sign language.

The Children’s Commercial Communications Code gives expression to the statutory obligations to ensure that in advertising, teleshopping materials, sponsorships and other forms of commercial promotion employed in any broadcasting service, in particular activities which are likely to be of direct or indirect interest to children, that the interests of children be protected having regard to the general public health and interests of children.  Further expression is given to the principle in the Children’s Commercial Communications Code.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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