RTE have replied to my complaint regarding the Bryan Dobson ‘idiot’ incident.
Your complaint regarding Wednesday’s Six One News has been forwarded to me as Managing Editor of Television News.
Let me start by saying that we take all complaints very seriously, and that you were not alone in contacting us. Your complaint has been discussed with the editorial team and with Bryan Dobson.
As you know, Bryan Dobson was interviewing the Economist Ronan Lyons outside Government for the programme when a number of protesters walked into shot behind him during live transmission and began moving about.
The studio team believed the result was very distracting and made the interview difficult to follow for the audience.
RTÉ is also obliged to consider the welfare of the guest/correspondent and cameraman in situations like this.
A decision was taken to conclude the interview earlier than planned and Bryan Dobson communicated this.
He then made an off the cuff remark caused by the frustration of having to cut the interview short.
Bryan’s remark was solely about the interruption to the live broadcast and was not in any way a reference to the subject of the protest, or the right of people generally to protest.
RTÉ was not in any way trying to muzzle protest by pulling out of the broadcast early.
Bryan’s Dobson’s comment came in the heat of the moment but RTÉ accepts it would be better if the remark had not been made.
Best regards, and many thanks for viewing our programmes.
I’m not entirely happy with this reply and will therefore forward my complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for further consideration.
My reply to RTE
Your comments on the Bryan Dobson incident were interesting but, unfortunately, did not address the substance of my complaint.
My submission focused entirely on the belief that Bryan Dobson was in breach of sections 21 and 22 of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs which specifically debars Irish broadcasters from expressing a personal opinion on air.
I will forward my complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for further consideration.