Friday 21 July 2017

Filmmaker settles libel case after RTE issues an apology

Anita Guidera and Tim Healy

A FILMMAKER has welcomed an apology from RTE for "unfair and incorrect" claims made about her in a programme broadcast on Radio na Gaeltachta almost two years ago.

In the High Court yesterday the state broadcaster apologised to Neasa Ni Chianain, the maker of the controversial documentary on poet Cathal O Searcaigh, 'Fairytale of Kathmandu', for the interview on 'An Saol O Dheas' in which poet Paddy Bushe made the unchallenged claims.

Ms Ni Chianain sued RTE and Mr Bushe, of An Coireain, Co Kerry, for defamation arising from an interview broadcast on RTE Radio na Gaeltachta on June 11, 2009.

Yesterday, David Kean, counsel for RTE, and Ms Ni Chianain's counsel Paul O'Higgins told Mr Justice Eamon de Valera the action had settled.

The apology stated: "The material broadcast in the course of this interview given by Mr Bushe suggested that Ms Ni Chianain offered payment to a person to make a false statement on film, had pressured another person to give pre-scripted answers to certain questions and had exploited a number of youths who participated in the programme.

Distress

"RTE accepts that these suggestions were entirely incorrect and unfair to Ms Ni Chianain and wishes to apologise for the hurt and distress which they have caused to herself and her partner."

The judge struck out the proceedings with an order for costs against RTE Commercial Enterprises Ltd. Ms Ni Chianain was in court for the brief hearing.

'Fairytale of Kathmandu' shone an uncomfortable spotlight on Donegal poet O'Sear- caigh's relationships with teenage males in the impoverished Nepalese capital.

In the programme broadcast on June 11 2009, Mr Bushe, a friend of the poet, discussed going to Nepal and recording interviews with some of the young men who appeared in the original documentary, for his "documentary", 'The Truth about Kathmandu'.

Speaking outside court yesterday, an emotional Ms Ni Chianain said she was relieved it was over but expressed disappointment that it had taken two years to be resolved.

"I sought an apology and for the facts to be corrected but this was refused to me twice so I was forced into taking legal action. It was the only option that was open to me so two years later I finally get my apology," she said.

Irish Independent

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