John Sudworth (left) and Yvonne Murray
The BBC’s Beijing correspondent John Sudworth has left China and moved to Taiwan following pressure and threats from the Chinese authorities.
He and his family were followed to the airport and into the check-in area by plainclothes police officers. His wife, Yvonne Murray, is the China correspondent for the Irish public broadcaster RTE.
Sudworth, who has won awards for his reporting on the treatment of the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region, left Beijing with his family.
The BBC says it is proud of his reporting and he remains its China correspondent.
Meanwhile, Ms Murray said:
“Two of our children were born in China, they all speak fluent Chinese, so for them it is home and it’s particularly distressing for them facing the reality that they might never be able to go back, as long as the Chinese state is so determined to target and punish journalists for simply doing their job.
“But we will try to hold on to the memories we’ve made. China is an extraordinarily colourful, culturally rich country. Friendships we forged with Chinese people over the years can’t be taken from us.
“The secret police who followed us as we left – while a sad departing memory – can’t erase all the other happy memories.”
BBC China correspondent John Sudworth moves to Taiwan after threats (BBC)
Irish reporter leaves China after rise in surveillance (RTÉ)
RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
Disproportionate anti-anti-lockdown protest measures?
Or Tubridy’s wages arriving?
We may never know.
Outside RTÉ studios.
A Knight Templar, anyone?
Dáil Eireann at the Convention Centre.
“We have an arm of the government practically going out to Dublin Airport to burn witches live on air. I’m talking about RTÉ. It’s an absolute disgrace. It is oppressive and it is driving anxiety in this state what RTÉ is doing.
“There are massive problems with free media in Ireland.The Irish Times have their hand out looking for money from the government. God Knows they’re entitled to it, they’ve been doing your bidding for a year.
“But where is the free media to come from if the only source – I’m not talking about all media – but the primary source of income is the Department of Health, is the government?
“Of course they [RTE, Irish Times] are doing the government’s bidding, of course they’re driving the narrative, of course they are attacking people who question what is going on.
“It is oppressive and it is damaging the fabric of our society.”
Independent TD for Clare Michael McNamara
Earlier: Wish You Were Here
Too Big To Fold
Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ 1.
Cruel sun holiday-shaming on RTÉ 1’s Prime Time.
Ooh. He’s so ‘ard.
Previously: Come Out You’re Back And Tanned
RTÉ has reported a net deficit of €7.2m in 2019, according to the annual report for that pre-Covid year released today.
Via RTÉ (to be said in the voice of Fergal Bowers):
The broadcaster said there was a decline in commercial revenue in 2019 of €4.2m due to Brexit uncertainty and changes in media consumption habits.
Operating costs, including the costs of special events, were reduced by €2m while there was an increase in total revenue of €342.1m.
Licence fee income increased by a net €7.2m to €196.3m due to the €8.9m increase in public funding in Budget 2019 .
the Chair of the RTÉ board Moya Doherty said.
“The current funding model is broken, and RTÉ will face a material uncertainty about its capacity to provide the same level of services in the medium term if it is not resolved quickly and definitively,”
RTÉ reports deficit of €7.2m for 2019 (RTÊ)
On RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live.
Chair of the Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth (above right) spoke with Ms Byrne briefly about the report RTÉ published yesterday concerning the five Covid-19 guidelines which were breached at a recent retirement gathering (above left) in Montrose.
Ms Byrne started by asking Ms Smyth if the report drew a line under the matter for her or did she believe there were more questions to be answered?
She said she has read the report and that “most of the questions have been answered…maybe not all of them…”.
Asked what questions hadn’t been answered, she said:
“Well, the question of how this came to be organised in the first place. Now we do accept RTÉ are saying there is a Garda investigation ongoing and that restricts some of the findings that they can communicate in the report so, you know, I suppose as a committee, we’ll have to decide does that draw a line under it or are there further questions to answer.”
Ms Smyth said the committee will be meeting tomorrow where they will deliberate the report.
Asked if RTE representatives will be appearing before the committee, Ms Smyth replied:
“Not as yet.”
Yesterday: Five Breaches
From top: David McCullagh and Miriam O’Callaghan flank Phil Collins at her retirement party in RTÉ
That RTÉ gathering…
…RTÉ’s Health and Safety Review has found that five breaches occurred; three breaches of COVID-19 public health advice, one breach of the Plan for Living with COVID-19 Level 5 restrictions and a breach in RTÉ’s internal COVID-19 Protocols;
Some people did not maintain social distancing during the gathering.
Where the two meters social distance was breached, some people were not wearing face coverings.
There was a breach of the requirement to avoid crowded places.
There was a breach of the Plan for Living with COVID-19 as there should not have been any indoor gathering which does not form part of RTÉ’s delivery of an essential service.
There was a breach of internal RTÉ COVID-19 Protocols for visitors to our site.
RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes said: “These breaches should not have occurred and, as Director General, I am sorry that this happened. What makes this all the more disappointing is that this incident is not representative of the way our staff conduct their work in general, which is to be absolutely diligent in relation to public health guidelines and COVID-19 protocols.”
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an essential service, RTÉ has been pro-active in prioritising the health and safety of our employees and contractors,as well as those necessarily visiting our sites to contribute to our programmes, while also delivering vital news, information and entertainment to the public.
Dee Forbes added:”A close look at any of our productions over these past months, across our television, radio and online services, highlights our commitment to ensuring everyone who visits RTÉ is in a safe environment. However, on this occasion we fell short of our own standards. It is essential that we all learn from this and that none of us is complacent about the risks of COVID-19. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others.”
In this context, RTÉ’s Health and Safety Review makes five main recommendations:
1. All present at the gathering to retake RTÉ’s COVID-19 induction training;
2. Implementation of a communications plan to reinforce RTÉ’s COVID-19 protocols;
3. Discussion of findings and lessons learned with RTÉ’s COVID-19 representatives;
4. Review of RTÉ’s visitor access and protocols;
5. Ongoing review of RTÉ’s COVID-19 protocols.
That’ll learn them.
Full review here.
RTÉ review finds breaches of Covid-19 restrictions at retirement gathering (RTÉ)
RTÊ Director General Dee Forbes
Further to Rtegate…
Chair of the Oireachtas Communications Committee Niamh Smyth has said events surrounding a retirement gathering at RTÉ are of huge concern and clarity and a forthright statement from the organisation is needed.
She told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne she did not accept that it was an “impromptu” event and she said that the Communications Committee has a responsibility to ask questions about how this event happened in the first place.
We are in Level 5 lockdown, she said, “and this is an indoor social gathering”.
‘Clarity’ needed from RTÉ over social distancing breach (RTÉ)