Saturday 27 May 2017

RTE by the book

Sir -- Liam Collins writes on Page 5 of your edition of October 16 that John Bowman's book, Window and Mirror: RTE Television, 1961-2011 is "a semi-official history of RTE". May I clarify? I was invited by RTE to write an independent history and was facilitated by being given time off to do so. I undertook the book on the basis that I alone would be responsible for all opinions expressed. All of this is clarified in the introduction in which I write as follows:

It must be a complicating factor that I am both an insider as a broadcaster and am attempting to play the role of an independent historian of an institution for which I have some regard and for which I have worked all my adult life. Manifestly there are advantages and disadvantages in such an arrangement. I will leave it to the reader to judge how that dilemma has been coped with. This book has entailed me writing about contemporaries, colleagues and, sometimes, friends. There could even be some points of controversy which some of them would rather I had not included. In all such cases I applied one rule: if I were not a colleague what would my judgement have been? Was the evidence important to an understanding of that dimension of RTE's history under consideration? Through this method, any dilemmas were resolved for the author: whether others are content with the results is for them to decide. In no case was any of the content approved by any individual, still less by RTE.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

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