December 5, 2013
An Irish radio presenter has been suspended from broadcasting after a row with a government body about Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip.
Peter Kearney, presenter of the International Politics show on Dublin’s Near FM, had ridiculed Ireland’s Broadcasting Authority after a complaint from the Israeli embassy was upheld.
The Sunday Times reports that Kearney has been suspended and told by station management that his actions ‘were not acceptable.’
Kearney had interviewed a number of people last March about their experiences in Gaza in the aftermath of Israeli military action in 2008 and 2009.
The paper reports that during his program, he described Gaza as an ‘open-air prison,’ endorsing a term used by one interviewee.
The presenter also said on air that Israel did not want to share the waters off the coast of Gaza with Palestinians because of their potential gas and oil reserves.
Boaz Modai, Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, then complained to the Broadcasting Authority that the program was a ‘propaganda platform’ for Gaza Action Ireland as there were no neutral guests or advocates of Israel’s position.
The authority’s compliance committee ruled that the show was not ‘fair, objective and impartial’ as current affairs programs are required to be.
After Near FM broadcast the BAI’s ruling before an episode of International Politics, Kearney discussed the ruling with Azizi, a comic character who is the creation of Sami Moukaddem, a Lebanese musician.