RTÉ causes upset for editing interview with Noel Edmunds

Karen Gaffney

RTÉ Logo. Image Credit: Wikipedia

The issue of censorship in Ireland has resurfaced following RTÉ filtering Noel Edmonds interview on The Ray D’Arcy Show on upload to the RTE Player.

RTÉ received complaints when the comments made by Edmonds about the Irish banking crisis had been deleted without warning.

“We got on to the subject of bankers and Lloyds Bank specifically. And when the show appeared on the RTE Player my whole section had been removed, but it was reinstated today, the 24th, minus the reference to the banks. Quite rightly thousands of people in Ireland are up in arms, just have a look on social media, people are genuinely angry about censorship,” said Edmunds.

How much control do these bankers have over our media? Quite clearly a lot,”
said Edmonds in a video he posted to Twitter.

The former Deal or No Deal host appeared on the RTE Show on 19th January 2019 to discuss the pressure Lloyds Bank put on him and his business that led to his loss of livelihood which left him on “the brink of suicide”.

The interview had been uploaded to RTE Player but quickly removed and re-uploaded omitting Edmond’s comments referencing his ongoing court case with Lloyds bank.

RTE have previously been accused of censorship by Virgin Media Television in September 2018 with its managing director, Pat Kiely, writing a letter to RTE claiming the Public Service Broadcaster had exercised “de facto censorship” on the group, formerly known as TV3, during a guest appearance row.

“The removal (and subsequent editing) of the candid interview with Noel Edmonds and RTÉ’s Ray D’Arcy show has sparked controversy on social media, with some commentators suggesting that the truth is being suppressed,” said DCU Media Law lecturer Maria O’Brien.

However, it is instead possible that the brief reference to ongoing court proceedings in the suppressed clip may provide a justification for
the action by the public service broadcaster, who will no doubt not want to fall foul of contempt of court procedures,” said O’Brien.

The exact reason RTÉ removed the content is unclear but a representative of RTÉ told RSVP Live: “Content on RTE Player is always subject to review and edit. We have no further comment to make.”

People have stated that the alleged censorship of the comments made by Edmonds was because it referenced an ongoing court case.

RTE previously came under fire in 2014 when they were threatened with legal action for comments made by Rory O’Neill, also known as Pantibliss, on the Brendan O’Connor Show naming certain journalists as homophobic.

#Pantigate led to RTE removing the section from their online archive. RTÉ subsequently paid more then in damages to those named by Pantibliss.

The editing and removal of content that  could be considered controversial raises questions for the freedom of expression and level of censorship in Ireland even in 2019.

Karen Gaffney