So after waiting for every single last one of the twenty working days they had available (and counting a day that the rest of us were working on as a non-working day), RTE responded after the BAI referral went in, and their response is by turns factually incorrect, deceptive, insulting and cynical:
As mentioned before both here and elsewhere, Prime Time recently pulled a rather unpleasant hatchet job on target shooting for a second time in a row. As you do (or at least, as you should do), I sent in a complaint to RTE about the program the next day. The email was acknowledged and then completely ignored. No further contact of any kind within the twenty working days the Broadcasting Act allows them to draft a reply. So the next step is to complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which got done this evening after the close of business on the last day in the 20 day window.
The Broadcasting Act seems sympathetic:
39. (1) Every broadcaster shall ensure that—
(a) all news broadcast by the broadcaster is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views,
(b) the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of his or her own views,
As do several sections of the BAI Code:
1. In their treatment of news and current affairs content broadcasters shall comply with section 39 (1) (a) & (b), section 39 (2) and section 39 (5) & (6) of the Broadcasting Act 2009.
2. In their treatment of news and current affairs content broadcasters shall comply with the following principles as articulated in this Code:
Objectivity & Impartiality;
Accuracy & Responsiveness;
Transparency & Accountability.
3. A broadcaster shall deal fairly with contributors to current affairs content or with persons or organisations referred to in that content.
9. The editing process shall not distort the context or meaning of the original interview.
17. News and current affairs content shall be presented with due accuracy, having regard to the circumstances and the facts known at the time of preparing and broadcasting the content.
19. Views and facts shall not be misrepresented or presented in such a way as to render them misleading. Presenters should be sensitive to the impact of their language and tone in reporting news and current affairs so as to avoid misunderstanding of the matters covered.
20. A significant mistake shall be acknowledged and rectified as speedily as possible, in an appropriate and proportionate manner. A broadcast correction or clarification shall have regard to the time and circumstances of the original broadcast.
But will it do any good in the end? I don’t know. But what’s the alternative when our system treats silence as consent?
Well, if you were watching RTE tonight, you pretty much know why a hundred thousand or so people in Ireland are feeling fairly annoyed at the use their TV licence fee has been put to tonight.
The full debacle is up on the RTE player here if you really want to torture yourself more:
But instead, I’d recommend writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s mine in case it’s of any use to you:
I wish to make several complaints regarding the above Prime Time
report, on the grounds that it violated the Broadcasting Act 2009,
Section 39(1)(a) and 39(1)(b). My specific complaints are: