THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland has upheld two complaints against TV3′s ‘Psychics Live’ broadcasts, saying two broadcasts during the summer were in breach of the broadcasting code.
The authority found that broadcasts on June 26 and July 5 of this year had been in breach of clauses which distinctly bar broadcasters from carrying psychic or fortune telling services which discuss a caller’s health.
Complainant Leah Burgess – who has published the BAI’s adjudication online – said the psychic in the first incident had not sought to end a call when he realised that the caller wanted to discuss their health.
In the second incident, though the psychic had said his interpretation of a tarot card was merely “in my opinion”, he used wording which could have been interpreted as a direct analysis of the caller’s own health rather than a hypothetical discussion.
TV3 had responded to the complaints saying the broadcasts were “clearly identified as an entertainment service”, and that while it could not control the questions that a caller could ask one of the on-air psychics, regulations prohibited psychics from making any claim in relation to health and healing.
The BAI upheld the complaints, however, noting that the psychic had made no effort to end the first call when it had became clear the caller was seeking advice on a health issue.
In the second call, the BAI found that the presenter had raised health issues independent of the caller – and, in saying a particular tarot card “means you are alone and you are prone to depression”, had delivered ”an individualised assessment” of the caller’s personality.
The general broadcasting code permits fortune-telling and psychic broadcasts only when they are clearly advertised as being for entertainment purposes only, with predictions issued only as a matter of opinion.
TV3 will now be required to air an on-air sequence acknowledging the breach of the code.