13 February 2006

We Say: Gagging the media


Having attacked every other paragon of democratic values and freedom of speech in the country, Irish Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has now turned his attention to RTÉ. The minister says he’s “concerned” at the actions of journalists who are setting the news agenda at RTÉ rather than letting eminently qualified politicians (i.e. Michael McDowell) do that for them. Public service broadcasting, he warns, “is in danger of losing its way”.
In fact, as readers of this paper will know, it’s only in recent years that RTÉ has lived up to its public service obligations and started to report both sides of the story from the North. That mightn’t play well with the minister but it’s what a free media is all about.
Expect a push against “a minority of journalists and programme makers” who have incurred the minister’s wrath because “they want to be political players”. Thank God for journalists in RTÉ, TG4 and RTÉ who are willing to think for themselves rather than regurgitate the pap of the thought police. They may, indeed, be a minority, as the minister says, but they must not be gagged by this right-wing minister.

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