Broadcasting watchdog asks RTÉ to publish Frontline working document

Friday 23 November 2012 00.39
The BAI has decided a statutory investigation is not warranted in respect of the Frontline Presidential debate
The BAI has decided a statutory investigation is not warranted in respect of the Frontline Presidential debate

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's compliance committee has asked RTÉ to release the working document on which its report into the Frontline Presidential debate was based.

The watchdog maintained that comments contained in the working document would provide additional insights into editorial failings on the television programme Frontline's presidential debate.

However, the BAI has decided a statutory investigation is not warranted in respect of the Frontline Presidential debate.

RTÉ has said that the working report of the review was not offered for publication as participants in the review took part on a confidential basis.

The broadcaster has said it wants to publish the report, and is contacting the individuals involved.

In a statement, RTÉ reiterated its apology "to Seán Gallagher, to all the candidates, and to our audience."

A BAI spokeswoman said that it is happy to confirm that it received all of the information that it requested from RTÉ in relation to the investigation.

The report, together with the working document that was furnished to the BAI Compliance Committee, offered a sufficient basis for the Committee to make its determination.

As such, the BAI has cast no question over those who prepared the report, and associated working document.

Report author denies 'watered down' suggestions

Rob Morrison, a co-author of RTÉ's editorial report into the Frontline, has said he “absolutely refutes” any suggestion the report was changed or watered down at the behest of RTÉ.

Mr Morrison said the published report was based on a research document that was 27 pages long that they had never intended to publish, but they made sure the conclusions of the published report were an absolute reflection of what was in the research document.

He said it was the intention to give guarantees of confidentiality to those they spoke to, so they could have open engagement with them.

Mr Morrison said he has already talked to some of those interviewed who have refused to have their details published.

He said, however, that a lot of the working document could be published with redactions.