Ken O'Shea of RTE points out to Arnold that his biased point of view was directly contradicted by the findings of Ireland's independent broadcasting complaints authority.
RTE's Declan Ganley profile was fair
Bruce Arnold's assertion in last Saturday's Irish Independent that RTE's 'Prime Time' profile of Libertas founder Declan Ganley, broadcast on November 27, last was "unbalanced, ill-researched and... malicious" was an unacceptable slur on a comprehensive work of investigative journalism.
The programme was painstakingly researched over several months and was a balanced and considered profile of a fascinating and controversial political figure, undertaken as a matter of public interest.
Mr Arnold's attack was all the more curious, given that it came just days after the independent Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) published its adjudication on a complaint by a member of the public against the programme.
In their judgment, the BCC stated: "Mr Ganley has risen to the forefront of Irish politics. The funding of Libertas has been, and continues to be, widely debated and discussed in political, media and public forums. In entering such a political arena, Mr Ganley could expect his business past and political aspirations to be held up to scrutiny. It is common practice in democratic societies to scrutinise and question political people in such a manner. This edition of 'Prime Time' set out to examine in a serious manner the background of a public political figure."
The commission noted that the programme-makers offered Mr Ganley a fair right-of-reply. Further, the commission noted that the report was interspersed with contributions which were supportive of Mr Ganley. And they finished by saying: "Mr Ganley represented himself on the programme and was afforded ample opportunity to refute allegations and to express opinion. The commission was of the opinion that the subject matter was treated fairly and was fair to all interests concerned. There was no evidence of editorial bias in this broadcast."
As a columnist, Mr Arnold is under no obligation to apply the balanced, investigative journalism which we believe was evident in this programme. However, your readers deserve all of the information. The programme is available to view on www.rte.ie/primetime
Editor, Current Affairs, RTE