Saturday 16 December 2017

BAI rules Marian Finucane was 'playful, not offensive' on show discussing Castro

Marian Finucane
Marian Finucane

Alan O'Keeffe

A complaint that Marian Finucane made a remark that was "offensive" and "totally unprofessional" during a programme has been rejected by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

The authority's Executive Complaints Forum ruled that Finucane's radio programme, which referred to the death of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, was "fair, impartial and objective" and a remark she made about an interviewee was "playful and not dismissive".

The BAI received a complaint from listener Thomas Kirby about The Marian Finucane Show last November 26, when Castro's death was discussed with two interviewees.

After the interviewees left, Finucane, who earns €295,000 a year, read out some calls and texts from listeners.

These included one that read: "Marian, I've heard [the interviewee] talk on many issues over the years.

"He is an intelligent and rational man. However, when it comes to Cuba he sees everything through rose-tinted glasses."

The broadcaster then said: "Well, to the best of my know-ledge he's also married to a Cuban, so that could influence your thinking too, you know."

Mr Kirby lodged a complaint, stating that the interviewee explained his admiration for the Cuban system and his own assessment of human rights violations, but the remark by Finucane suggested his views "may exclude due consideration of that country's failings because he is married to a Cuban".

He accused Finucane of dismissing the interviewee's opinions with her remark, which was "offensive, totally unprofessional and insulting to the listeners' intelligence".

RTE told the BAI her remark was "light-hearted, accurate and arguably supplies listeners with useful information to assist them in contextualising the interviewee's views".

The authority noted the interviewee made no complaint, and it rejected Mr Kirby's complaint.


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