Thursday, January 15, 2015

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Ramadan Teilifís Éireann

Charlie Hebdo cartoon

  • I am outright accusing RTÉ of censorship and I want it investigated. RTÉ cut coverage of the IMF loan announcement when Vincent Browne started asking difficult questions of Taoiseach Brian Cowen. I had to turn to BBC to see the rest of the press conference that I couldn’t watch on my national broadcaster that I pay a licence for, to see an announcement on the future of my own country - Allan Cavanagh's, Here Be Treasure. 

Charlie Hebdo hit the streets yesterday in its first foray since last week's murderous attempt by theocratic fascism to obliterate it. It was nothing less than a resounding bounce back for anti-censorship, resilience, fortitude and secularism. An estimated five million copies and still not enough to go around as demand easily outstripped supply. The Wall Street Journal quipped that "Je suis Charlie” has become “Where is Charlie?”.
Reports on RTÉ this evening indicate that Ireland is still waiting on its copies, there only being about 100 to have successfully made it across the English Channel. In any event, as newsworthy as the event is,  RTÉ will not stretch itself too far in keeping the public up to speed.  
On the day that Charlie Hebdo made a robust assertion on behalf of free expression it was extremely disappointing to observe the timorous way in which RTÉ conducted its reporting. Representatives from the broadcasting authority turned up at the NUJ organised vigil in the grounds of Dublin Castle on Saturday. It was in solidarity with the dead of Paris. Ultimately,  RTÉ’s solidarity did not extend all that far. They could have at least have been faithful to the truth and turned up with posters proclaiming We are not Charlie.
Last night RTÉ showed the upper part of the front page of Charlie Hebdo, probably the most significant issue in the magazine’s history, but determinedly avoided displaying the arguably sensitive cartoon in deference to what is in effect a clerical edict. The public were allowed to see half the news. It would have been much more dignified had  RTÉ simply avoided the story rather than seek to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.  
Not that RTÉ made a lone broadcasting stand against standing up for Charlie Hebdo. It behaved no differently from Sky TV in its handling of the matter. In a visible fit of pique presenter Dharshini David blocked former Charlie Hebdo contributor Caroline Fourest from showing the full front cover on camera, and in laughable and obsequious fashion apologised to any viewers it might have offended.

Fourest moved to display the magazine after complaining that:
I am very sad that journalists in the UK do not support us, that journalists in the UK betray what journalism is about by thinking that people are not grown-up enough to decide whether a drawing is offensive or not.
Sky confirmed her fears and presumably RTÉ would invoke the same Sky nonsense if asked to explain its position, or lack of position, to be more accurate.
There was nothing insulting about the Charlie Hebdo cartoon. What it was clearly offensive to was a religious edict which demanded submission to its will. Thou shalt not publish what we ordain shall not be published and we shall take offence if you disobey us. But religious opinion has no more right to be respected than any other opinion. Yet RTÉ deferred.  
Benjamin Netanyahu has appeared many times in clips on both Sky and RTÉ as has his obnoxious lying spokesperson Mark Regev. I am hardly alone in finding it deeply offensive that each of these war criminals (not entirely inaccurate parallels with Hitler and Goebbels come to mind) appear onscreen to justify their slaughter of the civilian population of Gaza. Amplify my sense of being offended and multiply by millions the numbers offended throughout the Arab world. A helluva lot of offended people.

Yet we are supposed to believe that RTÉ is genuinely worried about causing offence.

Truth is: RTÉ has a long history of facilitating censorship. It eagerly made way for Minister for Censorship Conor Cruise O’Brien. While Charlie Hebdo bravely waved its pencil RTE shamefully brandished its eraser.


Alan Murray said...

The Pope endorses violence against those who mock religion. No surprise there. Where's the outrage from all those liberal pseudo-left arsewipes who care about freedom of speech? Amy Goodman? Have you anything to say? Are are you going to forever wallow in hagiography of this moral fraud?

Gerard. said...

At least sky can be credited with a reason

- Was there a commercial reason Sky News cut away from the cartoon of Mohammed last night? The state-owned Qatar Airways, with 29 Sky News ad spots per day and a new two year deal just agreed, wouldn’t be too pleased at their adverts being preceded by an image of the Prophet

unlike RTE.

nicola kerr said...

Have i died and gone to hell and woken up to find out am has joined the T.U.V has the blue shirts taken over your blog you are reproducing fascist propaganda Kill all Irish =kill all Muslims if you go on the internet you can read a pamphlet called the menace of the Irish race to our Scottish nationality i was on this blog last week and found an article mirroring what you ll read in that pamphlet about the Irish i had this blog and radio free eirean that is all now i have nothing to keep me a abreast of what is happening in Ireland now i have nothing