I have to say I cannot see what’s wrong in principle with Eamonn Dunphy declaring which candidate he was going to vote for whilst continuing his role as a journalist during a tense election campaign. He may have run foul of the strict broadcasting rules, but as he notes himself:
Dunphy said as a “general principle” he believed it was right that broadcasters should not publicly declare their support for an election candidate in or out of the studio, but he said he wanted to be upfront about his support for Mr McGuinness. He had done so because he felt Mr McGuinness was getting a rough time in the “Southern media”.
“Declaring it, as I did, was the lesser of the sins, the other one would be to keep it hidden,” he said. “In the end I decided that the broadcast would be fair and there would be no hidden agenda and that it would be incumbent on me to be fair to every guest on the programme which I endeavour to do.
“It is better if listeners know what your views are. It is absolutely vital to give fair and equal treatment.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty