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Childers lodges formal complaint re bias in RTE’s coverage of independent candidates

News item

Thursday 22 May 2014

Independent candidate Nessa Childers MEP has lodged a formal complaint concerning RTE bias in its reporting of the European Election campaign. In particular, she has highlighted its European Election campaign coverage on the Six One News on Wednesday May 21, 2014.

‘The RTE Six One News report, in my opinion, aired what was, in effect, an un-contested interview with only one Dublin European Parliament candidate, the Green Party’s Eamon Ryan. No other Dublin European Parliament candidate featured prominently in this news item,’ she said.

While most of the parties were mentioned in this news report, their individual candidates in the Dublin constituency were not. Apart from the exclusion of Brid Smith of People Before Profit, the report also failed to mention independent candidate and sitting MEP Nessa Childers. This action is despite recent opinion polls showing that she is polling at a level that gives her a realistic chance of winning a seat.

Ms Childers added that ‘this election campaign has showed that RTE is unable to fulfil its remit as a public service broadcaster’.

‘Another issue is RTE’s continued policy of refusing independents access to political broadcast time, despite the State broadcaster allowing individual candidates from political parties their own promotional slots,’ the politician also said. ‘Thus, RTE is handing an advantage to these candidates over independents.’

‘Despite not having access to party political broadcast time, independents have to get their message out to the voter. And it is time that RTE and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland reviewed its attitude to political broadcasts and coverage of independents in general.’

Ms Childers concluded: ‘In these elections independents are receiving strong support, and did so in the last General Election. This is self-evident in poll after poll yet RTE continues to ignore the evidence. We need to demand – “why?”‘

Click here to read a copy of the letter: Bronwen MaherDavid McKenna 22 May 2014