William Campbell is taking his battle with RTE and The Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) all the way to the Supreme Court, following a High Court decision which did not rule in his favour.
Campbell maintains that the broadcasting of AA Roadwatch is in breach of the Broadcasting Act. Firstly, AA Roadwatch is part of the current affairs output of RTE and must present a balanced view of the news. It does not do this, of course, but presents things like car accidents, as it says on Campbells website, “..not by the severity of the injuries, but by the severity of the delays..”
Secondly, the AA is a motorist lobby group, and it being given airtime without equal airtime being given to groups who lobby for better public transport, such as BUSRAGE, or who lobby for cyclists, such as the Dublin Cycling Campaign (DCC).
This is a clear breach of the act.
Thirdly, Campbell maintains, by reporting things like street demonstrations or strikes in a fashion which simply gauges their impact on the use of the road by motorists is biased, once again a breach of the act.
A large volume of correspondence was entered into between Campbell, RTE & The BCC (see below), with the AA even sticking their oar in, even thought action was never taken against them specifically and they were not in breach of the Act, since they are not the licensed broadcaster.
After many letters and rebuttals, the BCC decided that RTE was not in breach of the act. However Campbell felt that the BCC didn’t consider the matter fully, as their decision failed to address many of the points raised during the course of correspondence. The application to the High Court for judicial review was unsuccessful, and Campbell is now appealing to the Supreme Court.
At the risk of appearing as biased as AA Roadwatch is, we must say that we at BUSRAGE support Campbell fully in his fight to make the airways balanced. We aren’t interested in seeing the AA’s slot taken off the air, but would like to see it complemented by broadcasts, of similar duration and at similar times, by groups lobbying for cyclists and public transport users.