Irish broadcaster discontinues program that falsely accused priest
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Irish broadcaster RTE has ended its current affairs series “Prime Time Investigates” after a news report last year falsely claimed a missionary priest raped and impregnated a minor in Kenya.

The move is part of a “full restructuring” to help program makers at all levels accept “their responsibility and role in rebuilding RTE’s reputation for very high quality journalism,” RTE director general Noel Curran said April 3.

“Mistakes will happen in broadcasting and in journalism, no matter what changes are made. Program makers must be and will be supported in making challenging programming but the standards we set for ourselves as the national broadcaster must be very high, as I know they are in so much of what we currently do,” Curran said.

In May 2011, “Prime Time Investigates” broadcast an episode “Mission To Prey” that wrongly accused Fr. Kevin Reynolds of County Galway of raping and impregnating an underage girl in Kenya 30 years ago. It falsely reported that the priest secretly provided financial support for the baby.

Before broadcast, the priest volunteered to undergo a DNA test to prove his innocence, an offer RTE refused.

The priest was removed from his home and from parish ministry, but two separate DNA tests later proved his innocence.

The priest has agreed to accept substantial damages from the broadcaster in an out-of-court libel settlement.

Curran said the “Prime Time Investigates” series “will not return to air.” The broadcaster will create a new current affairs investigation unit to take its place.

The news of the series being canceled was accompanied by the announcement that Ed Mulhall, RTE’s head of news, will retire. Current affairs editor Ken O’Shea has resigned his position and will transfer to another assignment.

There are now five senior posts in television news and current affairs to be filled. All editorial staff will be trained in new journalism guidelines and a new standards board will oversee their work, Curran said.

RTE faces an inquiry from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland over the false report. It could be fined up to $333,000 if it rules the show’s treatment of the priest was not fair, objective and impartial, the Irish newspaper The Independent reports.

In November, Curran called the report “one of the gravest editorial mistakes ever made” in the broadcaster’s five-decade history.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20