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Radio advert blocked over religious wording

Veritas, the religious publisher, is considering legal action against the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) after the regulatory body “blocked” the airing of a radio advert on RTE promoting Christmas gifts.

The commisson banned the advert because they considered that it was using advertising towards religious ends which is forbidden by Irish legislation.

But last night an unrepentant commission remained defiant against the book chain and it invited Veritas to present it with a new wording that could be broadcast in time for the Christmas market.

This is the third time that a Veritas ad has been banned by the commission. Last Christmas an advert that mentioned the word crib was banned. Earlier this year a second one was banned because it advertised the sale of First Holy Communion gifts and described them as ‘spiritual’.

The latest stand-off became an unholy public row when Veritas director Maura Hyland told the Irish Independent of her disappointment that its Christmas advert had been blocked by the BCI, which she accused of taking “an extremely narrow view” of current legislation.

“The commission is unfairly applying somewhat different standards to Veritas than to other commercial bodies such as Eason and Argosy in promoting and selling our products on the Christmas market,” she said.

However, a commission spokesperson said that it had been awaiting a revised version from Veritas.

“It is the commission’s view that the scripts, as proposed, may not comply with legislation and regulation regarding advertising directed towards a religious end,” a statement said.

“As part of its dealing with agencies representing Veritas, the commission sought to reach a resolution through alternative wording for the script, an offer which to date has not been taken up.”

Veritas has eight branches across the Republic of Ireland. It specialises in religious gifts and supplies brochures useful to parish communities.

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