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z Radio Teleffs Eireann Teileaféin 01 208 3111 Fresulmhir 01 208 3080 Dublin 4, trelanch Tolephone OF 2083111 | Toletas 1 208 3080 RTE References: BCC 2009/1477,1478,1481,1484,1489-1493,1498-1631,1637 BCC References: 135-137,140,200-202,253,256 (Referring to 23 March) 142-189,191-199,203-250,254-255,257-272,275-277,279, 284-290, 300 (Referring to 24 March) Anne O'Brien Broadcasting Complaints Commission 2-5 Warrington Place Dublin 2 9 April 2009 Re: Complaints made to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission concerning the Nine O’Clock News on RTE One Television on 23 and 24 March 2009 Dear Ms O’Brien ‘The BCC has forwarded to RTE 144 complaints about the broadcast of a report on the unauthorised hanging of two caricatures of the Taoiseach Brian Cowen in two Dublin galleries and a subsequent apology by RTE. The report was broadcast on 23 March and the apology the following night. The large majority of the complaints, [35, refer to the apology on 24 March and a smaller number, 9, refer to the original report on 23 March. RTE intends to make ‘one submission to cover all complaints. Background ‘There is a long established practice of ending full length news bulletins with a lighter item. National newspapers had carried in the previous days a report that two caticatures of the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, had been displayed in the National Gallery and in the Royal Hibernian Academy without permission. A decision was taken to make a report on this which would be suitable for the last item on the Nine O’Clock News. Report Broadcast on 23 March 2009, ‘The final item in the News was introduced by newsreader Eileen Dunne Gardai say they are making inquiries afier two nude portraits of An Taoiseach were put up illegally in two Dublin art galleries. The portraits of Brian Cowen who is not thought to have posed for the anonymous artist were placed among the portrait collections of the National gallery and the Royal Hibernian Academy. This was followed by a report from Tadhg Enright. His narration began The unknown artist behind this unauthorised portrait of Brian Cowen made clear he doesn't think he's wearing the trousers in Government. An anonymous donor simply walked into the portrait collection of the Royal Hibernian academy and hung it alongside the other art works. When a gallery visitor asked the staff about it, it was taken off public display Extract from interview with RHA representative You certainly cannot condone work coming in this way and our annual exhibition show which will be opening this May is the best route to get work on to the gallery walls and we'll be keeping an eye out for work coming in this way from now on Tadhg Enright speaking to camera Another portrait of An Taoiseach, this time naked on a toilet was found here at the National Gallery. It hung for twenty minutes before it was spotted, removed and handed over to Gardai Art lovers got little time to appreciate them, So we gave them a second chance Interviews with members of the public It's Brian Cowen and he's eight months pregnant Do you think he posed for that? Thope not. 11 looks like me six months before I lost a few pounds Is ita side that we want to see more of him? Possibly not, it may be to some people's tastes, but not mine Would you like to see your Prime Minister like that? She's a lady. I don't want to see her naked in a gallery, no. Tadhg Enright narration continues One woman who saw this nude before it was covered up has offered to buy it even thought experts have estimated its value at zero Extract from interview with Art Expert It's reasonably well painted, It's not the worst that I've seen Is the frame even worth anything? I's a modern frame, no ina word. Tadhg Enright narration concludes The Royal Hibernian cannot sell it because it doesn't own it, But if the artist gets in touch he or she might be able to have a sale, Tadhg Enright RTE News Editorial Management Response to the Broadcast After the broadcast senior editorial management in the News Division concluded that the report had been a valid news story and the decision to make a report on the unauthorised hanging of the portraits had been correct. However reservations were felt that certain aspects of the report had not been appropriate. Editorial management concluded that the report had included too many close up images of the portrait of Mr Cowen, that the graphic image behind the newsreader had been too prominent, that the interviews with members of the public had been tonally inappropriate and that the item had been too long for a final lighter item. A decision was taken to broadcast an apology in the Nine O'Clock News on the following night. ‘The Apology Broadcast on the following night Eileen Dunne concluded the Nine O'Clock News with the following statement On last night’s programme we carried a report on the illicit hanging of caricatures of An Taoiseach in two Dublin galleries. RTE News would like to apologise for any personal offence caused to Mr Cowen or his family or for any disrespect shown to the Office of the Taoiseach for our broadcast. ‘The Complaints The complaints fall into two categories. Some complaints claim that the broadcast of, 23 March breached the BCI Code of Programme Standards in regard to taste and decency. Others claim that the apology was a breach of RTE’s obligations in regard

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