My concerns raised to Irish Broadcaster (RTE) ref Ms Greta Thunberg / Mr. Ryan Tubridy

Dear Ms Fitzsimons

re: Climate Crisis / Ms. Greta Thunberg / Mr. Ryan Tubridy.

For the avoidance of doubt, my complaint is to be treated as formal in nature. I have read the procedures as detailed in your email of today and I can confirm the following.

The presenter was Mr. Ryan Tubridy. The show was his radio show of 24th September on RTE Radio 1. The specific matter of complaint was his coverage of Ms. Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN. 

1. This was a breach of the BAI Codes, specifically those listed below:

Section 42 of the Act provides that:

  1. (1)  The Authority shall prepare, and from time to time as occasion requires, revise, in accordance with this section, a code or codes governing standards and practice (“broadcasting code”) to be observed by broadcasters.

  2. (2)  Broadcasting codes shall provide –

    1. (a)  that all news broadcast by a broadcaster is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views,

    2. (b)  that the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views,

Both (A) and (B) of section 2 are relevant in respect to my complaint. Ms. Thunberg is a person of significant interest globally. She has been the centre of a sustained online attack both in respect to her views and her mental health. This matter is one of extreme “public controversy” and it is a “subject of current public debate”. Your broadcaster chose to give his personal views on why he felt Ms. Thunberg should not be continuing with her humanitarian mission, why she should be excluded from such actions owing to her age (discrimination) and when given her own challenges she should also be doing something else (further discrimination). The suggestion that she should go home and attend a movie was simply astonishing. 

Your presenter, further made direct comparison to his own daughter, whilst referencing this person of significant relevance on the world stage and did so without being “objective” nor acting in an “impartial manner”. I could go into further detail but I am sure it is obvious given the clear statement from the Authority above, that your presenter (and you as an organisation) have overstepped the mark and caused potential damage to Ms. Thunberg. Further, likely impacting the broader movement both in Ireland and abroad. 

I note that the presenter failed to apologise today (September 25th) on his radio show (the next day following his actions above) and he failed to acknowledge that he had no right to act in the ways I have listed above. I am astonished that nobody within RTE Management felt it appropriate to check the code of standards and consider his position in respect to same. This has now brought the management within RTE firmly inside this complaint, not just the presenter. 

There are children and adults in this country (and abroad) who are passionate about the Climate Crisis and your presenters actions may have undermined their credibility or even brought them within criticism from their peers or family. This is a most serious breach which was dismissed today as if it was simple slip of the tongue. I expect this complaint to be treated with the level of significance that should be afforded such a clear a blatant breach of the BAI code and for real and substantive action to be taken. 

Yours sincerely

Justin Caffrey

#gretathunberg #climatecrisis #ryantubridy #conciousliving #rte #bai #discrimination #justincaffrey

reference below to a sample of articles highlighting the presenters comments:

Image From Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty images

Image From Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty images