Bog Standard


Screen-Shot-2015-04-01-at-21.13.11Further to that.

A letter from FEARGUS all the way in Waikanae, New Zealand.

Sir, – I read Una Mullally’s piece “RTÉ referendum memo sends out the wrong message”, (Opinion & Analysis, April 6th) in disbelief. It is many years since I worked in RTÉ but the memo she reports is by my memory quite simply bog standard.

The only difference that separates this version from that issued in my own days there is the onward march of technology, to wit social media, so-called.

I thought the passage of time might have coloured my memory, but no.

I have checked with a friend, a former senior editorial executive, who has assured me that I remain compos mentisand “it’s a restatement of the usual”.

Ms Mullally is outraged. I see the memo differently.

First, it provides a protection to the RTÉ workforce.

Second, and by far the most important aspect of a long-standing policy, it offers – or is intended to offer – some assurance to the Irish public that the organisation and its broadcast services can be trusted to be what public representatives intended when, in 1960 and periodically since, they enacted and amended laws establishing and maintaining RTÉ as a national public service broadcaster. Specifically that voters can trust its coverage during a campaign.

The stopwatch and other aspects of RTÉ’s house policy on electoral and referendum coverage during the official contest period is not only “the usual”, it is necessary. This is not about the Angelus, “young researchers frightened about job security” or any other coats trailed in the piece.

It is about RTÉ and the law (the Broadcasting Acts) and integrity (RTÉ as a public service broadcaster) as they relate to the critical moment of the democratic exercise.

Voters deserve the assurance that neither a very powerful public body nor its staff are being anything other than scrupulously disinterested during the referendum campaign. I don’t know whatThe Irish Times policy is, though it appears to be different, but then it is not a public service. – Yours, etc,


Sound, mind.

RTÉ and Referendum Coverage (Irish Times letters)

Previously: Friends, Colleagues, Freelancers, Cover Your Mouths

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37 thoughts on “Bog Standard

  1. ahjayzis

    “Voters deserve the assurance that neither a very powerful public body nor its staff are being anything other than scrupulously disinterested during the referendum campaign.”

    That is total bull. Find me a gay person working in RTE who is completely disinterested in this referendum when it impacts them and only them. How is it fair to expect them to be? How is it fair for an employer to prevent an employee campaigning in their own free time?

    I work in architecture, in my previous job our clients included big landowners with dodgy reputations for buy-ups and evictions before redevelopment – separately I’ve been known to bitch about predatory landowners and rent controls on my twitter/facebook page. I was not betraying the clients, I represented them to the best of my ability even though I couldn’t stand the greedy scum – I reserve the right to have and express an opinion contrary to theirs. Same should go for the vast majority of RTE staff.

        1. ahjayzis

          …is supposed to be impartial – not the private lives of it’s thousands of workers. That’s what you’re not getting.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Yup. And surely people have on their bios “Views my own” which makes it pretty clear they aren’t spouting the party line?

    1. Inopro

      the debate is being set up to promote the notion Ireland is there re basic civil rights (just not the aul abortion – cant be having that), that th church should still ensure a no victory despite CLEAR majority polls vying for a yes, face it Ireland is a regressive regime that only does basic rights . equality is not guaranteed in this sickness of a place

  2. MajorThrill

    Yeah but given how complete objectivity or impartiality is nigh on impossible I think I’d like to know how the people responsible for presenting the narrative actually feel on controversial issues because no matter how hard they try it’ll colour how they present it (With the best will in the world I’d find it tough to treat my ideological opponent’s perspective with the same respect and patience as someone I agree with).

  3. CousinJack

    ‘Public trust in fair debate and coverage’
    Having a laugh, IW protest and gardai corruption, RTE is the mouth piece of the state

  4. ROB

    Not comparable. There was no general election on the moral issue of buy ups, evictions etc, and your architecture company was not responsible for informing/influencing the lay people of the land on the topic of the non-existent election.
    Your right to express an opinion of the greedy scum is yours, and no-one can take that away.

    RTE staff have the same right, they just can’t express it on a platform provided or supported by their roles in RTE. i.e. Would someone working in RTE have the same number of followers if they worked in a shoe shop?
    What if certain personalities came out publicly in favour of one side or the other? Not fair.

    1. James

      What about non-public figures at RTE though? Reception, IT, canteen, facilities, HR, Accounts, technicians…?

    2. ahjayzis

      We’re not talking about Marian Finucane’s Twitter and Sean O’Rourke’s Snapchat here, this applies to ALL staff, canteen workers, makeup department, accounts – that’s my problem with this.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        How do you know that?

        The note refers to…. “RTE Journalism Guidelines” ….and so I don’t see how that’d effect the Fair City props department or the cleaners and canteen staff…..

        He goes further when talking about all the roles in “content” provision and again, makes no reference to “ALL staff”.

        I think your outrage got the better of ya.

  5. newsjustin

    RTE: “Heh, fellow public service broadcasting staff members! Please refrain from using media, social or otherwise to air your personal views on the topic of an up-coming referendum. We have a job to do.”

    Crazies: “Homophobes!!”

    1. Joe the Lion

      if only

      in my dreamland it would be the second branch of my new homeless shelter ‘business’ (First branch in Kildare St)

  6. sickofallthisbs

    What a surprise, Una Mullally is an idiot, wind up merchant trying to drum interest in her politics.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Why are you whispering about it? You lot always get your knickers in a twist about Una, its funny.

          2. Inopro

            you could have a worse personal agenda so give it up. imagine wanting to be treated with the same first class status and you a consenting adult – wow what an audacity! grow up

  7. scottser

    when boyzone sang ‘you say it best, when you say nothing at all’ they were talkiing about rte.

  8. Inopro

    Ive just had all comments posted on a ‘article’ on the subject removed and my right to comment revoked. Can someone inform who’s responsible for that apparent agenda and why they’d want to alienate my support, moreover show up some kind of anto position given they have left offensive comments on said article?

  9. mthead

    Sounds like RTE’s request would prevent No siders claiming bias after the inevitable victory for the Yes side; which is in itself, bias, as it takes away a No side argument that they’d otherwise have in any case they might bring to have a second vote. Maybe. Or it’s aliens, ancient aliens. Has anyone used that as an alternative to the Godwin’s Law thing?

Comments are closed.

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