Inquiry into ‘Mission to prey’ finalised

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland inquiry into the Prime Time Investigates “Mission to Prey” programme has been concluded.

A BAI spokesperson confirmed the independent body’s compliance committee had finalised its recommendations on RTÉ’s failure to provide accurate reports or balance in relation to one part of the programme.

However, while these details have been provided to its board, the spokesperson said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on their detail until all aspects of the investigation were complete.

The case centres on how RTÉ reported on the alleged actions of Galway-based priest, Fr Kevin Reynolds, when he was stationed in Kenya in 1982.

The programme claimed Fr Reynolds fathered a child after raping a then teenage Kenyan girl.

Fr Reynolds, 65, repeatedly denied the allegation, and said he was willing to provide proof the claim was untrue before the programme aired on May 23, 2011. A paternity test which took place subsequently proved Fr Reynolds was telling the truth.

As a result, RTÉ was forced to pay the priest significant damages, believed to be in excess of €1m.

The broadcaster also shelved Prime Time Investigates while a review by Ireland’s first press ombudsman, John Horgan, into its editorial processes took place.

The conclusion of the BAI investigation comes as RTÉ is facing growing anger from some quarters over their handling of the Frontline presidential debate.

In recent days there have been calls from unsuccessful candidate Sean Gallagher and Fianna Fáil for an inquiry into how a fake tweet was allowed to be read out on air. Mr Gallagher alleges that this message, which was not clarified immediately, effectively ruined his election chances.

Enda Kenny has insisted he will not call for an independent, non-BAI review because an independent review by the BAI has already been carried out.

* FOCionnaith.direct@examiner.ie


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