There is blood on the carpet at RTE, Ireland’s national TV broadcaster, with a flagship program axed and several executives fired over the false accusation of a priest.
IRELAND: RTE’S “Prime Time Investigates” has been axed while a new current affairs unit will be established at the TV station following a report from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland into a defamatory programme on Fr Kevin Reynolds.
The head of news Ed Mulhall has retired from the organisation while editor of current affairs Ken O’Shea has resigned from his post and will transfer to another assignment in television.
The move comes just a day after the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland compliance committee issued a report into the programme.
RTE has already apologised to Fr Reynolds for the unfounded allegations made in the May 23 programme and paid a six figure libel sum to the priest as a result of the broadcast which wrongly alleged he had raped a minor and fathered a child by her while working in Kenya 30 years ago.
Five senior posts in television news and current affairs management, including two new editorial management posts, are to be filled.
All editorial staff will be issued with and trained in new journalism guidelines, and a new editorial standards board will oversee standards and will take a role in a revised complaints procedure.
Noel Curran, RTE director general, announced the move as part of wide-ranging reforms in its personnel, management and operations in the current affairs division.
“Mistakes will happen in broadcasting and in journalism, no matter what changes are made. Programme makers must be and will be supported in making challenging programming,” he said.