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Sunday 31 August 2014

RTE pulls Egan interview over fears of bias in local election

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 08/02/2014 | 02:30

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Kenny Egan
Kenny Egan

RTE bosses pulled the plug on a 'Late Late Show' interview with Olympic boxer Kenny Egan because of fears it would have left the station open to accusations of bias.

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The Irish Independent can reveal that Egan (pictured) was last night due to formally declare his intentions regarding the upcoming local elections; however, the interview was cancelled just hours before broadcast.

The silver medallist has been approached by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in recent days but he has yet to announce which party he intends to sign for.

It has emerged that the 32-year-old agreed to be interviewed by Ryan Tubridy on last night's programme but was subsequently told that the interview was being pulled.

RTE bosses were worried that they would be accused of "showing bias" towards one candidate which would have been in breach of broadcasting guidelines.

"It was a tricky one, especially when you're dealing with someone as high profile as Kenny Egan.

"You have to take into account that the election date has been set and the rules governing coverage have become much tighter," an RTE source told the Irish Independent.

Under guidelines laid down by the broadcasting watchdog, broadcasters must not "give an unfair preference to any political party".

RTE could have potentially been accused of providing an advantage to Mr Egan over the other candidates competing in Dublin's Clondalkin ward.

An RTE spokeswoman said the station does not comment on issues surrounding potential guests on shows.

Irish Independent

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