Report highlights errors in production of RTÉ's Frontline presidential debate

Monday 19 November 2012 08.54
The review looked at issues around the production of The Frontline's presidential debate
The review looked at issues around the production of The Frontline's presidential debate

A number of errors were made by the production team behind the presidential debate held on RTÉ’s The Frontline, according to the report of an editorial review into the programme.

The review highlights issues around the questions that were put by audience members to the seven presidential candidates, as well as the composition of the audience itself.

While the report found that the majority of the questions asked by audience members were based on issues they had raised themselves, in one case an individual was given a question that was not their own.

That question had come from another prospective audience member who was unable to attend the programme due to flash flooding that had occurred that day.

The editorial review also raised issues about the way the audience was selected for the show and found that one of the questioners was a personal friend of a member of the production team.

RTÉ has accepted the findings of the report and said it has now addressed the issues raised by it.

“The production was less rigorous than it should have been,” said RTÉ’s Head of News and Current Affairs Kevin Bakhurst.

“RTÉ now has in place best-practice rules, procedures and protocols to reduce the risk of any recurrence of the mistakes that were made. Recent debates on the Fiscal and Children's referenda have seen these new rules in action."

The review was conducted by former Head of News and Current Affairs at UTV Rob Morrison and Director of Programmes at RTÉ Steve Carson.

The report did not look into the controversial tweet that was read out during the programme, which had already been the subject of a BAI investigation.

RTÉ said it had intended to publish the report once the formal BAI process into the programme had concluded this week, however it moved to release it earlier after details were leaked to a Sunday newspaper.

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