herald

Sunday 21 October 2018

Paul's Corrib documentary fair -- watchdog

A WATCHDOG had rejected complaints over a TV3 documentary made by crime writer Paul Williams about the Corrib gas controversy.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) examined five separate complaints about Paul Williams Investigates -- The Battle For The Gas Fields, but rejected each of them, ruling that the documentary was fair and balanced.

One of the complaints was made by a reporter with the Irish Times, Frank McDonald.

Responding to the rulings, the Sunday World journalist said he felt "vindicated". He said: "I am delighted. It is a victory for telling it like it is.

"This whole matter shows that if you in any way question certain groups, or attempt to unravel their workings, you are immediately branded as biased and conspiracy theories are created out of thin air.

"We were very, very balanced and we gave a voice to both sides of the argument.



intimidation

"We were the first people to document the intimidation of law-abiding local people by certain elements in the anti-Shell campaign.

"Some like to look down their noses at so-called tabloid media but we get out there and tell it like it is, and inform people of what's going on."

McDonald claimed that the documentary failed to explain the aims of the Shell to Sea protesters, but the BCC rejected the claim.

The BCC said: "The commission found that both sides of the argument were given a fair hearing. Each was afforded ample opportunity to participate and express views."

Three other individuals, Niall Gillespie, Dave Donnellan, and Enda Fanning, alleged that the programme was biased, but all three complaints were rejected.

The TV3 documentary was broadcast last June, and dealt with the ongoing controversy in Co Mayo over the Corrib Natural Gas Project, the Shell plan to extract gas and bring it ashore from an offshore gas field.

It has been opposed by a small number of locals and outside protesters, on safety grounds, despite a lengthy planning process.

clooney@herald.ie

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