Code bans staff from non-RTE work

High-profile staff at RTE have been barred from working outside the Irish national broadcaster under a revised staff code.

The move follows controversy last year over the participation by Bryan Dobson, the RTE television anchor, in training sessions undertaken by health board executives.

In future, staff in news and current affairs will require special written permission from their divisional head to engage in training courses outside the station, whether on a voluntary or paid basis.

The revised code stresses that, even where journalistic staff have approval to contribute to external publications, they must not write opinion pieces or express opinions on topics in respect of which they are broadcasting.

Staff are also warned that “in no circumstances” must information be given to newspapers or other media `on any aspects of RTE’s activities.

There is also a stern warning that staff who engage in work outside the station risk penalties up to the level of dismissal, or will be required to resign, unless they adhere to the expanded staff code.

A Government spokesman commented that it was important for the public that RTE should be seen to be objective and said he thought the revised code achieved that objective.

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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