What about the good old Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, huh? Now there’s a fearless watchdog working to keep Ireland a better place, wouldn’t you think?
I was especially taken by the BCI’s latest spectacular, where they banned an ad from the charity, Trócaire.
You might have seen it. It’s about the appalling treatment of women in the “developing” world, as people sometimes call it. The ad shows dozens of babies and a voiceover explains that they were born with something more prevalent than AIDS, or cancer or HIV: they’re female. It explains how, in some parts of the world, they’ll be subjected to circumcision, murder and sexual slavery. It urges our government to take action on these issues and asks people to be aware of what’s going on.
What’s wrong with that, you might be asking? What’s wrong with making our government sign a treaty condemning such awful practices? Well, according to the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, you can’t do that. You can’t have an ad like this because it’s – go on, guess. Yep, it’s political! You see, we have a law here in this country that forbids the broadcast of ads on political matters or religion. It’s a good law, and it’s designed to keep demagogues and God-maniacs out of our faces. But unfortunately, we also have civil servants who are in thrall to the new spurious God of Political Correctness, and that’s why you can’t have an ad protesting about rape, murder, female circumcision and oppression. That’s politics, according to the BCI.
How about that now?
Imagine if we were back in the Forties, but with television. Here comes an ad showing bulldozers pushing mountains of corpses into a pit at Auschwitz, Treblinka or Sachsenhausen. Outraged, you put out an ad : down with this sort of thing.
Nah! Sorry, says the BCI. Too political. You can’t do it, sorry, it’s politics.
There you are with your camera in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge are herding the entire population of Phnom Penh out into the fields to be slaughtered.
This is fucking awful, says you. I must tell the world.
Next thing you know, here’s a civil servant from the BCI. AodhogÃ¡n Ã“ FruallachÃ¡in, let’s say, or some other Irish-Civil-Servanty type name. I’m afraid not. Under section 11(5)(b)(iii) of the Act, this is clearly a political advertisement, and we cannot permit its broadcast. A Chara.
I see. What a tremendous sense of overview these BCI people have. How committed to their brief, come what may.
Giant civil-servant-eating aliens’ mothership hovers above the Department for Banning TV Ads. Maybe I could put out an ad warning people not to help the aliens because they want to devour the whole planet when they’ve finished the civil servants?
Eh, no. Sorry. Eh, ’tis politics, ya see. Can’t allow it. Eh, no. A chara.