By Anthony Sheridan
To Whom It May Concern:
I wish to lodge a formal complaint against RTE for breach of its Public Service Statement 2015.
My complaint centres on the biased panel selection on the Marian Finucane Show as broadcast on Sunday 4 September last.
Specifically, my complaint concerns the unbalanced and unchallenged views expressed during the discussion surrounding the Apple tax scandal.
The panel members were as follows:
Michael McDowell: Independent Senator and former Tanaiste and Minister for Justice.
Suzanne Kelly: Tax lawyer.
John McGuinness: Fianna Fail TD
Patsy McGarry: Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent.
Diarmuid Ferriter: Professor of Modern History at UCD.
It is reasonable to describe all the panel members and the presenter, Ms Finucane, as individuals with conservative views that are mainly in line with the governing establishment.
It is also reasonable to describe the two politicians on the panel as public representatives with strong and uncompromising views on the political outlook of those who oppose the Government’s response to the Apple tax scandal.
Left wing political parties such as Sinn Fein, Anti-Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit and others who represent a significant percentage of the population were, by their exclusion, prevented from expressing a contrary view.
This is in breach of RTEs Public Service Statement 2015.
Ensuring its treatment of current affairs and matters of public controversy, in addition to being impartial and objective, is fair to all interests.
It is also clear that RTE management is very well aware of the major changes taking place within Irish society.
RTÉ today sits within a society, economy and media environment that is changing; and changing rapidly. Recent years have shaken public confidence in institutions and traditional authority.
Despite this awareness, or perhaps because of it, RTE management seems to be abandoning its objectivity and professionalism in favour of taking the side of State/Government.
The apparent packing of a discussion panel in favour of one side of the debate is also in breach of RTEs duty in law to be impartial.
RTÉ has a duty in law to be accurate, fair and impartial, and to remain independent from all state, political and commercial influences.