Thursday 23 March 2017

Rush to courts risks chilling debate: Rabbitte

The Communications Minister has chided RTE for only focusing on commercial factors in its response to Pantigate, says John Drennan

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte Picture: Frank Mc Grath
John Drennan

John Drennan

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte says RTE must find the correct balance between commercial and editorial factors in settling defamation cases. In the wake if the Pantigate affair, Mr Rabbitte also slammed those with "zealous views" who call for robust debate on moral issues and then "run down to the Four Goldmines" at the first sign of offence.

Mr Rabbitte warned RTE its status as a national broadcaster means it cannot just be guided by commercial considerations when responding to defamation issues. In an apparent rebuke to the speed with which the station settled the homophobe row, he said the broadcaster has to take other factors into account in issues that are "sensitive, that go to the heart of human rights".

"I think it is a reasonable request that there should be both commercial and editorial judgement involved in decision-making," he told the Sunday Independent.

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