No Biffo ban

How good of the Republic’s Broadcasting Complaints Commission to strike a bold blow for freedom and decide not to punish RTE and News at One Sean O’Rourke for asking the harmless question: “Did Biffo Blink?” At least he didn’t use the f-word version of the big fellow from Offaly’s nickname. What a crisis it would have provoked had they found against the broadcaster. Instead of solemnly poring over the case the way such bureaucrats do, they should have dismissed the complaint out of hand as merely frivilous. Not that the UK is immune from stirring up a fuss over lack of reverence to the high and mighty. The sacking of the BBC1 Controller over Queengate was an example of ridiculous over-reaction. These may seem minor cases but vigilance is need to avoid slipping bad to the bad old days over Republican censorship, self- or imposed or otherwise, as with RTE from the 70s to the 90s and the BBC in various forms over the same period.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

Living History 1968-74

A unique, once-in-a-lifetime 10-week course at Stranmillis University College Belfast featuring live, in-depth interviews with leading figures from this tumultuous era in Northern Ireland’s cultural and political history.

Live interviews with: Bernadette McAliskey, Austin Currie, Brid Rogers, Baroness Blood, Dennis Bradley, Baroness Paisley, Lord Kilclooney, Tim McGarry, Danny Morrison, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and others…

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