The Broadcasting Act 2009 requires the Irish regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), to prepare codes and rules, and to review the effect of such codes and rules in accordance within specified timeframes. Following a review of the current code in 2014, the BAI has now finalised a new Code of Programme Standards (COPS), which will come into effect on 1st March 2015.
A key aim of the COPS - which has been in operation since 2007 - is to promote responsible broadcasting. In addition, the code seeks to ensure that access to information, entertainment and education - as well as a range of views in the broadcast media - are enhanced and undue offence and harm are reduced. The revised code prioritises a principles-based approach but also provides specific guidance to broadcasters as to how these principles might be fulfilled.
There are seven guiding principles underpinning the code: