RTÉ awaits BAI sanction over libel

 

RTÉ will find out in the coming days if fines of up to €250,000 will be imposed upon it as a result of the Fr Kevin Reynolds libel action.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has sent a copy of the independent report into the Fr Kevin Reynolds libel action along with notification of any sanction to RTÉ for consideration.

RTÉ will be given 14 days to respond or make submissions.

At the end of the process, the BAI will publish the report into the libel action and announce if it has imposed financial sanctions on the broadcaster.

In a brief statement issued this evening, the BAI confirmed that it had made a decision on how it was going to deal with RTÉ "and, in accordance with the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009, will now proceed to notify RTÉ of this decision. In doing so, the BAI will also furnish RTÉ with the report of its independent investigation into the programme."

“As the process associated with this investigation – as set out in the Broadcasting Act – is still ongoing, the BAI cannot comment further at this stage.”

The Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, called in the BAI to investigate the Prime Time Investigates programme which alleged that Fr Reynolds had raped a minor while working as a priest in Kenya and abandoned a child he had fathered with her.

It is the first such investigation under Section 53 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Fr Reynolds won a substantial out of court settlement when RTÉ apologised in the High Court for

The BAI’s compliance committee appointed former BBC Northern Ireland controller Anna Carragher to investigate the libel incident.

She has since reported back to the committee which in turn has made its recommendations to the BAI executive who will decide what, if any, sanction could be imposed on RTÉ.