Wednesday 21 March 2018

Carol Hunt: Spin can't fix RTE management issue

Carol Hunt shares Senator Whelan's concerns about RTE chairman Tom Savage's conflict of interest

'Press freedom and fair comment are a cornerstone and fundamental values of our democracy. Fair comment in the public interest is a pillar of a real republic."

The above quote is courtesy of Labour Senator John Whelan. It opened a statement he made last October outlining his concerns about the independence of the press. Ironically, in the same statement, Senator Whelan also noted a keynote speech made that week by Noel Curran, Director General of RTE, concerning the future of the national broadcaster, and said: "I [Whelan] am heartened that the head of RTE has identified investigative journalism as one of the six core areas on which RTE will focus."

Senator Whelan is well-placed to have an informed opinion on these issues. He is a member of the NUJ, a former chairman of the Midlands Branch of the National Union of Journalists and a former member of the NUJ National Council. He's a newspaper man: a former editor of the Leinster Express in Portlaoise, the Offaly Express in Tullamore, and the Leinster Leader in Naas. On his biography, his profession is simply described as "writer", but he is well-known for being a courageous, outspoken journalist of great integrity.

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