Calls For Inquiry Over RTE 'Defamation' Of Priest

A Labour Minister has announced an inquiry into RTÉ's Prime Time programme after it allegedly defamed a priest by wrongfully accusing him of abuse.

Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte said the case of Father Kevin Reynolds was considered at Wednesday's Government meeting.

The minister said Cabinet had decided there should be an independent inquiry to determine the true facts and circumstances which led to the Prime Time programme on Fr Reynolds being broadcast on RTE in May of this year.

The Minister noted that The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) was the independent regulator responsible for the oversight of compliance in relation to broadcast content and that it had a committee enforcing compliance by broadcasters on fairness, impartiality and enforcement of standards.

However, Minister Rabbitte requested the BAI Compliance Committee use its powers under section to determine whether RTE had met its statutory responsibilities and asked the Committee to report and make any recommendations on the case.

According to RTÉ on Wednesday, Fr Reynolds was awarded undisclosed damages and received an apology from the station after it wrongly accused him of sexually abusing a girl and fathering a child in Kenya.

"The next series of the 'Prime Time Investigates' has been deferred until editorial reviews are completed," the broadcaster said.


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