RTÉ has today confirmed it will extend an invite for the Prime Time Leaders Debate to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, which will see the leaders of the three biggest political parties debate live in RTÉ Studios on Tuesday night. In addition, RTÉ has also decided it will invite the leaders of five other parties to a debate on Prime Time this Thursday night on RTÉ One.
In reaching its decision, RTÉ had strongly noted the BAI’s rule 27 governing general election coverage which states: “Elections are dynamic events and broadcasters should give active consideration to their approach to coverage over the duration of a campaign and amend this approach if they consider it necessary and appropriate so as to ensure fairness, objectivity and impartiality. Broadcasters are encouraged to seek out the widest range of opinions on the issues raised during any given election.”
RTÉ is very mindful it has a duty to the public to reflect events as they unfold. During the course of the campaign and over recent days RTÉ has taken into consideration the notable change in the dynamic of the campaign on the ground, and representation and statements by political parties. The dynamic has also been consistently reflected in all opinion polls since the campaign commenced.
We now consider it necessary to amend our original approach, respond to the changes in the campaign, and continue to put the audience first in the making of Tuesday night’s programme.