It all started with a bit of an amusing piece on the evening news. It seemed that a prankster was walking into Irish art galleries and hanging nude painted portraits of the country’s Taoiseach (the head of the government appointed by the PM). The portraits were elaborately painted and could be somewhat passable among the other artwork yet gallery patrons asked staff about the pieces and the jig was up.
The country’s state broadcaster decided to do a piece about the interesting prank.
And that ended what must have been a rather uneventful day in Irish news. That is, until the Taoiseach’s office called the state broadcaster to complain. The next evening’s newscast contained this apology:
“On last night’s program we carried a report on the illicit hanging of caricatures of An Taoiseach in two Dublin galleries. RTE News would like to apologize for any personal offense caused to Mr. Cowen or his family or for any disrespect shown to the office of Taoiseach by our broadcast.”
Irish bloggers and columnists are calling the move censorship of the news and we’re already seeing predictable results of amplification caused by the government’s move to meddle.