Friday 15 December 2017

Serious errors will not be repeated, vows DG

Mark Hilliard

RTE LAST night accepted the findings of the BAI report and promised never to allow a repeat of such "serious editorial errors".

Director General Noel Curran said the report did "not make easy reading". He added: "We are not proud of the picture presented in the findings.

"However, we have learned from this and we will continue to learn from these grave errors," he said.

In a statement following the release of the report, the broadcaster said a number of changes had been made in recent months to address the shortfall in standards and that more were on the way.

Referring to the "regrettable period in RTE's history", Mr Curran said he was confident the station could move on.

"Already over 500 RTE staff have undergone a training programme on the new journalism guidelines and 600 in all will have completed this by mid-May," he said.

Ten specific recommendations made in the report have also each been addressed.

These included guidelines on investigative journalism, the practice of 'door-stepping' or approaching subjects unannounced, and making surreptitious recordings.

Failures

In addition, it said RTE had published the separate commissioned report from Professor John Horgan and had adopted several measures outlined in it.

RTE chairman Tom Savage said that the station had, since last autumn, "been dealing with the unprecedented results of grave editorial failures".

"I hope it's now clear that we have been doing a very great deal in recent months to restore faith in our journalism," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) apologised again on behalf of reporter Aoife Kavanagh and former editor of current affairs Ken O'Shea.

However, it criticised the handling of the report and said elements of it would be studied in the coming days.

"We are not satisfied with aspects of the investigation process and do not accept many of the conclusions reached by the investigating officer in respect of our members," it said in a statement last night.

In particular, it criticised the investigation for not interviewing representatives of RTE's legal department over elements of how the story was handled.

Irish Independent

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