Wednesday 13 December 2017

Pat Kenny hits out at BAI as RTE forced to publish report

Ken Sweeney and Colm Kelpie

BROADCASTER Pat Kenny has criticised the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland after RTE was forced to publish a more detailed report into the 'Frontline' presidential debate.

The state broadcaster made public the 27-page document last night after the BAI declared it had played down significant errors in the controversial programme.

But Mr Kenny stood by RTE's decision to publish an abridged version last month and challenged the watchdog to point out the differences.

"It would be helpful if the BAI pointed out where the substantial differences are between the original and this. . . and they haven't so done," Mr Kenny told the Irish Independent.

"It would be great if they did and save us all a lot of trouble."

Last month RTE published a nine-page report compiled by Rob Morrison, the former head of news and current affairs at UTV, and Steve Carson, RTE's director of programmes, which found no evidence of "bias" in the broadcast last year.

But it raised concerns about how questions for the candidates had been drafted and how the audience members who asked them had been selected.

The vast majority of the criticisms levelled were included in the shorter version, but details about the background, the events leading up to the broadcast and the conclusions on the specific questions were not included.

While the BAI welcomed the report's publication, RTE stood by its view that the abridged version was an accurate account of the report's findings.

A BAI spokeswoman said it was pleased that RTE had published the report and understands that there are elements that it had to redact.

The spokeswoman added that the BAI did not believe there were omissions in the shorter version, but explained that the full report would "illuminate" elements of the abridged version published last month.

Irish Independent

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