The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is to launch a review into how its report on RTÉ’s ‘Prime Time Investigates’ programme ‘A Mission to Prey’ was leaked to the Irish Times.
The move follows a statement from RTÉ in which the broadcaster expressed its “disappointment” over the leak, which it says is prejudicial to the regulatory process.
In a statement issued this afternoon (April 10), the BAI also expressed its “dismay and deep disappointment” that the report had been leaked.
The organization added: “The BAI will review the matter to seek to ascertain how such information was made available. The BAI also reiterated that the statutory investigation process is continuing and that RTÉ has until April 20 to respond to the notification issued by the BAI on Thursday last. The BAI will not, therefore, be commenting on the contents of any report or its correspondence with RTÉ.”
Earlier, RTÉ had said the leaking of findings into ‘A Mission to Prey’ were prejudicial to the regulatory process as the station has not yet officially responded to the report.
In a statement, the broadcaster said: “RTÉ wishes to express its disappointment that this report has leaked in circumstances where it prejudices RTÉ’s response to the investigation, within an ongoing process, and prejudices the response of the programme-makers as named individuals.”
The statement added that if the regulatory process is to remain fair, “RTÉ and the production team must be allowed to make submissions to the BAI in response to the report, within the process. The leaking of the report has undermined that process. RTÉ will continue to observe the process, as it is required to do.”
According to the Irish Times, the BAI report will find that the ‘Prime Time Investigates’ programme was unfair and breached the privacy of Fr Kevin Reynolds.
Under the 2009 Broadcasting Act, upon receipt of the report the station has two weeks to make submissions to the BAI, or to request an oral hearing or to go to the High Court.
RTÉ added: “It would be entirely inappropriate for RTÉ to comment on the BAI’s report at this stage while the document is still in the early stages of being evaluated.”
Last week, the broadcaster cancelled ‘Prime Time Investigates’ following the BAI inquiry. Two senior executives also left their current positions with the broadcaster.
Ed Mulhall, managing director of RTÉ news and current affairs, retired from the broadcaster, while ‘Prime Time Investigates’ editor Ken O’Shea, who is also editor of current affairs, has resigned his position to take up a new role in entertainment programming on RTÉ Two.