Coimisiún na Meán Refuses to Answer a Simple Question

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Following the report of the Future of Media Commission, Coimisiún na Meán was established further to the provisions of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022. 

A message on the website says: Welcome to Coimisiún na Meán – Ireland’s new commission for regulating broadcasters and online media, and supporting media development.

Our work will build on the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, whose staff and responsibilities have been transferred to Coimisiún na Meán.

We carry out the regulatory functions previously carried out by the BAI…  

and it goes on to list these.

Complaint to RTÉ

Regular readers of this website may recall that in 2020 following the onset of Covid and the lockdown, reports came in that incidents of Domestic Violence had increased dramatically. There was a corresponding surge in interviews with representatives of  support services for women on flagship RTÉ programmes Morning Ireland and  Today with SOR. Over an 8-day period in early June there were three such interviews; there were however none with representatives of Men’s Aid or other support group for men.
The perception was created that women at home were getting a bad time and were particularly vulnerable due to being confined for long periods. There was no effort to find out if men were suffering a corresponding increase.

We complained to RTÉ on grounds of fairness, objectivity and impartiality, in particular because being  a public service broadcaster RTÉ had a duty to reflect all shades of opinion. We got no satisfaction from RTÉ.

In a second article later in 2020, we pointed to further interviews in November 2020 that RTÉ conducted on flagship programmes with women’s groups. For instance,

Morning Ireland on Nov 10 did an extensive interview with Safe Ireland on the outbreak of domestic violence during the pandemic. We heard about a huge increase of around 35%.

Letter to Coimisiún na Meán

With the establishment of Coimisiún na Meán in 2023 and the incorporation of BAI therein we saw an opportunity to raise the issue once again following the scandals which beset RTÉ in June and July. We wrote to Coimisiún na Meán on Aug 29 outlining our 2020 complaint and lack of satisfaction with the response from  RTÉ.

We asked a simple question: If a station chooses to interview one side of a two-sided issue six times over a period of say six months but omits to interview the other side over the period does that constitute unfairness according to the code, does it breach Section 39(1) of the Broadcasting Act? 

We got a response from Teresa Kearns, the Complaints Manager, denying that RTÉ

had acted unfairly with regard to the three interviews over the 8-day period in June 2020.

She quoted excerpts from the BAI code which were essentially the same as we had received from RTÉ. However she declined to answer the question above. We wrote back pointing this out and again putting the question. That was on Sept 7. We have yet to hear from Ms Kearns.

Tonia Nicholls, IPV expert

It seems to us that this goes to the heart of the unfairness, indeed naked bias of RTÉ against men over a period of more than ten years which is obvious to any fair-minded person. Neither in relation to DV or to any of the other headline issues which affect men and boys has RTÉ ever taken any notice, had anything of consequence to say in that time. On the other hand women’s groups are interviewed on a regular basis; indeed minority groups of all kinds are afforded regular airtime to make their complaints. There is one outstanding exception: grievances of men and boys are never allotted any time. On these there is complete closure, lockdown.

UN Human Rights Council  Comes Under Fire

Whether the case in Ireland is exceptional we cannot say but the concerns of men and boys are not getting fair coverage in many countries. The global alliance DAVIA has cast a searching light on this glaring media bias and galvanised men’s groups to take action in the past two years.

False accusations have been a major focus of  attention with the designation of September 9 as Falsely Accused Day worldwide. Events have taken place to mark this day in India, Spain, Argentina as well as the US and the UK earlier this month. On another front the UN Human Rights Council  has come in for special attention due to the Report of the Special Rapporteur Reem Alsalem on Custody, Violence Against Women and Violence against Children” considered at the June/July meeting. After a sustained campaign of protest the Council did not approve the report which flatly denies the existence of Parental Alienation, instead presented the controversial narrative that Parental Alienation was merely a legal contrivance by men to counter women’s domestic abuse allegations.

A Complaint letter was sent to  UN HRC asking it to :

  • “Immediately release the submissions received by the Special Rapporteur into the public domain
  • Conduct a public inquiry into the probity of the Report and the conduct of the Special Rapporteur in this matter.”

Actions in Recent Months by Politicians and Others

I am pleased that we are now paving the way to ensure that men and women are treated equally

Attention to the rights and concerns of men and boys has been growing in many countries. We drew attention to the extraordinary decision of the Danish government last April to devote equal spending to services for men and women in the DV sector.

US Senator Marco Rubio released a report on “The State of the Working (and Non-Working) Man:”

British Member of Parliament Nick Fletcher called for establishing a Minister for Men.

Women have become some of the strongest proponents of these initiatives. In the United Kingdom:

  1. MP Katherine Fletcher was one of the first persons to call for a Minister for Men
  2. Columnist Rachel Moore referred to the Minister for Men proposal as “a great idea.”
  3. Writer Jemima Lewis acknowledged that “British men are in crisis.”

In response, the Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to open an authoritative inquiry into the global status of men and boys.

The Women’s Front of Argentina has mobilized a group of women focused on defending both falsely accused men and women.

In May, a bill was introduced in the Argentina Senate to penalize false accusers.  #FalselyAccusedDay

Twenty one US senators have written to the Department of Education charging that its proposed Title IX regulation “threatens students’ Constitutional right to due process and the core American value of justice for all.”

All these events are encouraging signs that the message is being heard.


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