RTE APOLOGISES TO DONEGAL FILMMAKER

NEWS

 May 24, 2011

RTE has apologised to Donegal filmmaker Neasa Ni Chianain over comments made on Radio Na Gealtachta about her film Fairytale of Kathmandu.

It said that the material broadcast in the course of this interview given by poet Paddy Bushe suggested Ms Ní Chianáin offered payment to a person to make a false statement on film.

It also suggested she had pressured another person to give pre-scripted answers to certain questions and had exploited a number of youths who participated in the programme.

RTÉ said it accepted these suggestions were entirely incorrect and unfair to Ms Ní Chianáin and wished to apologise for the hurt and distress they had caused to her and to her partner.

Ms Ní Chianáin left the court in tears. In a statement she issued later, she said she welcomed the apology.

She said it had taken two years to get final closure on the unfounded accusations and comments made in the interview.

Ms Ní Chianáin said she had had no option but to seek the apology through the courts, as she was told by the head of Raidió na Gaeltachta Edel Ní Chuireáin that RnaG would not correct the material or apologise.

She said that independent filmmakers were all vulnerable when speaking out in their work about injustices and moral bankruptcy.

Ms Ní Chianáin said as individuals, independent filmmakers did not have massive corporations behind them and did not have the resources to hire lawyers for legal actions if defamatory material is published.

‘All we have is the truth to protect us, our reputation and integrity,’ she said.

She said if this was attacked by individuals with certain agendas and that is knowingly or unknowingly facilitated by the media, then what hope was there that whistleblowers would want to come forward and warn of injustices and wrong doings.

Ms Ní Chianáin said throughout the aftermath of Fairytale of Kathmandu she was accused of many unfounded things, but she said the essential truth of the film had never been undermined.

She said if there was more effort put into establishing facts before publishing, a lot of pain and waste of resources would have been spared.