Skeptic News: TV3's psychics breach code again

From: Irish Times

A claim from TV3 that pregnancy is not “strictly considered to be a health issue” has been dismissed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as it upheld four complaints against the controversial Psychic Readings Live programme which the station broadcasts.

While TV3 did admit that “the provision of psychic services is not an exact science” it robustly defended the programme in the face of a growing number of complaints which accused it of exploiting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

Under the BAI’s code of conduct it is forbidden for psychic services to discuss health matters or to predict the future as a matter of fact.

However, on one broadcast when a caller asked if she would ever conceive she was told that not only would she conceive she would have twins. The complaint said that at no point was it evident this was in the host’s opinion and when similar calls came in similar answers were given with the “psychic” saying only once that he could not discuss medical issues.

This complaint said the content was “nothing more than blatant exploitation of people in a vulnerable position.”

In response TV3 said “the provision of psychic services is not an exact science”. It said care was taken to ensure psychics did not provide advice on health matters but said “the reality is that in a live broadcasting environment, some questions which are very general, such as those in relation to childbearing, can touch on health issues as well as relating to general matters such as relationships”.

The BAI accepted that the programme is broadcast live and that there is an element of uncertainty concerning what a caller may ask but it said it “was evident to the [Compliance] Committee that the presenter discussed issues relating to pregnancy in a manner that did not have regard to the restriction on discussions concerning health matters”. It said it considered pregnancy to be a health matter..

However the Compliance Committee upheld the complaint and concluded that “the broadcast as a whole conveyed the message that the service was more than an entertainment service.”

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