March 2014        

Media watch

Since the beginning of this year RTE, the country’s main broadcaster of news for many of us, has seriously lost its remit to be fair and balanced. There are three particular instances that we can see where the station has clearly lost its way.
     The so-called “Panti affair,” whereby RTE paid out a sum of €85,000 to various complainers because of what was said on its Saturday night show. Even though some of those “offended” were offered a right to reply, they didn’t take this opportunity; the state broadcaster still paid our money out, on “pragmatic grounds.” This debacle shows that the station will become a honey-pot for those who seek a quick buck for any comment that could be misconstrued in some way.
     The GSOC affair. The station showed its true allegiance when this story was reported. There is no doubt that its chief reporter—as with many crime reporters—depends on the Garda Síochána to fill certain vacuums that the Gardaí cannot disclose. RTE showed that this relationship is severely imbalanced and leaves journalists under pressure for stories from the Gardaí and the need to keep on the right side of the law enforcement agencies. RTE’s story was the leak that was fuelled by comments from the minister for justice and the Garda commissioner, continuing this same story for some days before realising that the story of who was bugging GSOC was the real story and would not go away.
     Ukraine. Yet again RTE gives a very unbalanced view of what is happening. Their reporter clearly didn’t know the the history of this country and its close ties with Russia. The use of pejorative terms put RTE on the side of the mainly fascist thugs who were running the so-called revolution. No mention of the oligarchs on both sides who have plundered this country’s wealth; no mention of the “National Endowment for Democracy,” which is funded by the US Congress within the budget of USAID and supported by people such as Senator John McCain and which played a vital role in destabilising Ukraine; no mention of the hidden role of the EU, pushed by German industrialists who seek to capitalise on the richness of Ukraine’s vast resources.

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