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The Culch no image

Published on March 30th, 2009 | by Allan


Believe in Free Speech even if you don’t like what’s being said?


The recent controversy over Picturegate transcended Conor Casby’s paintings. It revealed a national broadcaster in preemptive terror of the government; a meddling Government Press Office that overstepped the procedures the rest of us have to adhere to if we have a broadcasting complaint; and a Gardai that are clearly taking directions from murky corners of Irish politics. The full implications of a very strange week have yet to be teased out but many people are waking up to the rot in Irish political life and the episode has revealed some strange definitions of satire, and strange attitudes to the human body.
If any of this concerns you, and as a citizen of a democracy it should, you should express that concern. The Leave Conor Casby Alone group on Facebook approaches 6,000 members, you might join that.
You might voice your concerns to RTE complaints@rte.ie and/or the BCC http://www.bcc.ie/how_to_complaint/index.html.
I’m encouraging as many people as possible to contribute to Fústar’s exhibition of nudie Brian Cowen postcards: http://www.fustar.info/2009/03/26/the-great-picturegate-postcard-exhibition/
Remember, the severity of satire directly correlates to the hypocrisy and cynicism of a regime, and this one is displaying the symptoms of both. True cruelty lies in the abuse of power invested by an electorate.
Send your postcards even if you think you can’t draw. You might not be Michaelangelo but your few meagre lines will defend a principle so fundamental as to be invisible until it is compromised, or worse, lost altogether.
For now, free speech has only been compromised.
For now.

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About the Author

Allan is a Galway based cartoonist with a smörgåsbord of interests including visual art, music, technology and politics, and has always wanted to use smörgåsbord in a sentence. He also blogs at Caricatures Ireland.

4 Responses to Believe in Free Speech even if you don’t like what’s being said?

  1. Darren Byrne says:

    Allan, I’m loving your coverage of this. Keep it up. I’m off to make a postcard…

  2. Allan says:

    Good. Got one!

  3. Green Of Eye says:

    I received a bullshit reply from the RTE press office and have yet to hear anything back from the office of the Taoiseach. Been in touch with Fustar and a postcard will be enroute from Canada shortly.

    Response from RTE:

    Below is the response from the Senior Press Officer RTÉ News and Current Affairs to your complaint:

    “Thank you for your email in regard to our story about the caricatures of the Taoiseach which was broadcast on Monday’s 9.00pm News. Immediately after the broadcast RTÉ News made the decision that the item as transmitted was both in bad taste and inappropriate.

    We subsequently received complaints from various sources, including one from the Government Press Secretary. We informed him that we had already decided that the item was in bad taste and that an apology was appropriate.
    The News item was removed from the RTÉ website and on Tuesday night, we broadcast an apology.

    RTÉ News tries to maintain high standards and is willing to admit error when occasionally we get it wrong. Our editorial independence is important to us. These decisions are taken by us alone and not influenced by external pressure either for or against a particular course of action.
    I hope this helps to clarify the matter.

    Every good wish,
    Carolyn Fisher
    Senior Press Officer
    RTÉ News and Current Affairs”

    Bernie Fitzpatrick – RTÉ Information Officer.


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