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RTE set to clamp down on its presenters’ tweets

RTE stars may soon be looking over their shoulders for 'big brother' as the national broadcaster is drawing up guidelines for staff using social-networking sites.

The persuasive power of the web was emphasised earlier this year when Green Party senator Dan Boyle's online Twitter account was blamed for the downfall of Defence Minister Willie O'Dea.

And just last week following the untimely death of 2FM DJ Gerry Ryan instant messages were quickly appearing on the internet further fuelling rumours of his tragic demise.

The national broadcaster yesterday confirmed it was following in the footsteps of other media organisations, such as the BBC, in drawing up guidelines on the use of social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

However, RTE spokeswoman Carolyn Fisher denied the measure was forthcoming in the aftermath of Mr Ryan's death. She insisted work has been underway since late last year on drawing up the protocols in the face of the surge in popularity of social-networking sites.

Miriam O'Callaghan, Mr Ryan's RTE colleague, confirmed his death on her Twitter page, around an hour before the national broadcaster began officially reporting his death.


The 'Prime Time' presenter swiftly moved to delete the tweet as she apologised over her brief message appearing on the internet before the death was announced in public.

"We are in the process and very close to having them complete," Ms Fisher said, adding it was too early to provide an indication of the content of the guidelines.

"We would be taking into account other organisations and what they are doing. We will be taking on board legislation and things like that."

Twitter, a micro-blogging site, allows users to give brief up-to-date information on their activities or reactions to events in 140 letters or less.

Many organisations have moved to issue guidelines to staff on social networking as the division between personal comments and those made on the part of a firm can become blurred online.

Many radio and television personalities have entered the Twitter domain.

'The Late Late Show' host Ryan Tubridy discusses his radio work and books he is reading on the medium, while comedian Dara O'Briain is also a busy 'tweeter'.

It is also being actively utilised by vote-seeking politicians. Although Dan Boyle was last month forced to issue an apology after his Twitter account was hacked.

Earlier this year, Mr O'Dea resigned from his ministerial role after Mr Boyle's tweet that he didn't have confidence in him sparked a series of crisis meetings for the junior coalition party.

Source: Irish Independent