RTE ‘may be left behind’

Share this article


RTE is a semi-state owned company whose radio service began in 1926 and whose television service began in 1961, making it one of the oldest continuously operating public service broadcasters in the world.

RTE is financed by television licence and advertising. RTE is a statutory body run by a Board appointed by the government of Ireland.

Twelve Board members sit on the Board of RTE, the Minister of Communications appoints six members, the Oreachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources decides on four names, to go forward to the Minister, for appointment. One member is elected by the staff of RTE and the Director General sits on the Board in an ex-officio capacity.

In my opinion, it is unlikely that RTE can report the news and current affairs in a fair and impartial way with a Board that is top heavy with the views and thoughts of the ‘Government of the moment’.

Surely a fairer and more democratic way of running our national broadcasting service would be to have people on the Board from all political persuasions covering the ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘middle’ of Irish politics in order that RTE have a more balanced approach to news and current affairs.

RTE’s own literature claims they are the largest and most popular news source in Ireland with 77% of the Irish public using it as their main source of Irish and international news. In my opinion if RTE want to retain this massive slice of the pie they should begin to present the news in a fairer and more impartial manner.

It’s like the old adage: ‘Whoever wins the war writes the history’ and in this period of time a version of Irish history is being written by the Fine Gael/Labour government.

Previous to this the history was written by the Fianna Fail/Green government. In my view when a government has that much power to write its own version of the news and current affairs we are in a very bad place.

Stalin and Hitler would be proud of the tight reign RTE uses to peddle the propaganda of whatever new ‘master’ they are subject to at the time. Surely TV and radio programmes should be unbiased, impartial and apolitical. Personal politics should be left at the door of the studio.

Impartiality is not at the top of RTE’s list of ‘good practice’ priorities. Most output tends to reflect right wing agendas with views that lean towards the elites of Irish society. Our national television station, in my mind, should deal with every individual’s rights and not only the rights of elites.

TV’s top people are paid too much and have nothing in common with the poor and working poor of this country.

RTE would do well to consider their TV licence paying public and thus who funds their wages. RTE should be ‘looking over their shoulder’ at the internet because that is where more and more of the Irish public are obtaining their news and making more informed decisions. RTE may be left behind because of their failure to act in a fair and proper way in dealing with the news and current affairs.


Philip McFadden,


Co. Donegal.