More than once, I’ve bemoaned the lack of decent satire on Irish television. What I had in mind was something like the Daily Show – the US version with Jon Stewart, not the Irish afternoon armchairs and gossip programme.
Last week, in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal, I found out one of the reasons for the absence of such a show on Irish television. Stewart ran a segment on the House of Commons hearings into what Rupert Murdoch knew and when, but Channel Four was unable to screen the episode.
It turns out there’s a law prohibiting the use of House of Commons footage in a comedy or satirical context. And since much Irish law is a cut and paste of UK legislation, a similar provision exists in Irish statute.
I think that’s a shame. Think of the employment opportunities we could create if Irish comedians were granted access to such a rich vein of comedy gold.
Seriously, you paid for that Dáil footage. You should have the right to access it. If RTE or TV3 won’t run with it, at least we’d have the pleasure of youtube remixes.
UPDATE: The exact nature and extent of the ban is a matter of some dispute, as this post by Fergal Crehan shows.