The board of RTÉ and its director general have formally accepted the findings of the BAI Inquiry into the Prime Time Investigates programme, A Mission to Prey.
They have reiterated their determination to ensure that the key actions and changes which have been introduced at RTÉ will mean that serious editorial errors, which in this case resulted in the grievous defamation of the innocent Fr Kevin Reynolds, will not be repeated.
RTÉ has responded to the published recommendations contained within the BAI Report, showing how each of 10 separate, formal recommendations by the BAI’s investigating officer has been met with specific actions designed to redress the particular errors and potential ongoing risks identified by the BAI.
The key issues addressed include:
* Guidelines specific to investigative journalism;
* “Doorstepping” and surreptitious recording;
* Programme documentation;
* Handling and evaluation of sources;
* Culture of review and challenge;
* High-risk programmes;
* Liaising with legal affairs;
* Annual review of programme-making guidelines;
* RTÉ staff training.
“We are not proud of the picture presented in the findings,” said RTÉ’s director general, Noel Curran.
“However, we have learned from, and we will continue to learn from, these grave errors.
“A great deal has changed in recent months at RTÉ and more will change as we embed the new structures which have been introduced through our work to overcome this regrettable period in RTÉ’s history.
“We know we have fine people with great skills and that the way this programme was presented to our viewers was not representative of the excellence for which our journalists, producers and editors have been rightly praised.
“With that knowledge, and with the commitment that I have seen in recent months within the organisation to work hard to regain the public trust that was lost as a result of this programme, I am confident that we can get past this difficult time,” Mr Curran said.
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