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RTÉ staff oppose Drivetime sponsorship deal

10 December 2009

NUJ members in Dublin have called on RTÉ management to rescind a proposed Drivetime programme sponsorship agreement with HSBC Corporate Banking.

Staff at RTÉ have delivered a petition opposing the deal to the broadcaster's director general, Cathal Goan.

In a statement, the union's Dublin broadcasting branch noted the strong support for the petition among NUJ journalists throughout RTÉ.

Emma O'Kelly, branch chair, said:

"While support for this petition came from across the organisation it is notable that the response from staff working on news and current affairs programmes was extremely strong. They see this development as a threat to the public service ethos of RTÉ."

The petition includes the signatures of more than 200 staff working in news and current affairs areas across radio and TV.

It features the names of presenters, correspondents, editors, producers and reporters working on programmes including Morning Ireland, the News at One, Drivetime, TV news bulletins, Prime Time and Frontline.

The petition expressed deep concern and opposition to RTÉ's decision to enter a sponsorship arrangement for the Drivetime News and Current Affairs programme.

Emma O Kelly added:

"The public perception of RTÉ is very important. We have the utmost confidence in the professionalism of all programme teams but there is a strong belief that sponsorship of news and current affairs undermines public trust and confidence in the integrity of news and current affairs. That is a genuine fear on the part of committed broadcasters and we hope the Executive Board will give full consideration to their views."

Tags: , rté, broadcasting, sponsorship, public service broadcasting, commercialisation, radio, television, drivetime, prime time