Posted by: becketfund | March 8, 2009

Ireland: Ban on Religious Advertisements May be Relaxed

DUBLIN – Ireland is set to relax broadcasting legislation on religious advertising in order to avoid further bans on religious promotion, the London Times reported on March 8. Eamon Ryan, the communications minister, plans to allow organizations such as Veritas, a religious bookshop, to advertise on the radio. The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), which monitors the independent-radio sector, has banned a series of Veritas advertising campaigns in recent years. Government sources say that Ryan is still interested in retaining provisions of the existing law that prevent churches or quasi-religious groups from using the airwaves to recruit members, but that he will introduce legal changes when the broadcasting bill comes back this month to accommodate the spirit of the new code. Over Christmas, Veritas was refused permission for an advertisement on the station RTE and for local stations for “different and thoughtful gifts,” which included books for children.  A member of the public, Peter McCarthy, had objected to the use of phrases such as “inspirational” and “spiritual” in respect of gifts for children making their first communion, claiming the advertisement amounted to the promotion of particular aspects and sacraments of a specific religion.


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