the Irish for rights

Speech just wants to be free

picture-1.pngOver the last few weeks, I have been tracking the fate of a call on Larry Lessig’s blog for the US political parties and television networks to eliminate unnecessary regulation of political speech by allowing unfettered online access to the recording of the parties’ debates among presidential candidates. First, Barak Obama came on board, next John Edwards and then Chris Dodd. Then CNN announced that it would make presidential debate footage available without restrictions (though Fox News has announced that it will not).

Following yesterday’s RTE.ie web debate comes the news that there will be a television debate between Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny on Prime Time on 17 May next. Given that RTE is a Public Service Broadcaster, a non-profit making organisation owned by the Irish people, and Ireland’s cross-media leader, it has seemed to many Irish bloggers (eg Fergus, Neil, Damien, Irish Election) that RTE should follow the US example and make the video of this forthcoming Prime Time debate available online without restrictions, to promote and foster the widest possible dissemination of, and discussion about, that debate.

As a consequence, I have written to Cathal Goan, the Director General of RTE, calling on RTE to do precisely that; and I have written to Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny seeking their support. Yes, that was an old fashioned printout on paper, put in an envelope, and sent via courier – here’s a pdf of the three letters. But, because this is the internet, I have also set up an online petition to this effect. Please feel free

  • to sign the petition,
  • to email, phone or fax RTE, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on this issue,
  • to spread the good word about this, espeically to the ‘old’ media, and among politicians, and
  • to help out in any other way that you can (for example, a ‘speech just wants to be free button’ would be good, but is beyond my limited graphical and coding powers – they only get as far as the little election image on the top of this post, though if you click on that, you’ll get to the petition too!).

Remember, speech just wants to be free!

18 Responses to “Speech just wants to be free”

  1. […] Before I’d read Paige’s post, I’d just put a post on my blog in which I argue that we should import another half-baked US idea, and reheat it for an Irish […]

  2. Eoin says:

    More from Lessig’s blog, this time about MSNBC’s position on his call.

  3. […] are now competing for the title, we are informed), is a post worthy of press releasing. Eoin at Cearta makes a great case for the video from the RTE debates to be made free to use on the internet in the […]

  4. Karole says:

    Well done Eoin; excellent idea.

  5. […] Eoin’s blog post and sign the petition to get state broadcaster RTE to release the complete footage of the debate […]

  6. […] this Blog « Speech just wants to be free 11 05 […]

  7. […] answer to my requests (blogged on this site here, here and here; and elsewhere) that the forthcoming leaders debates on RTÉ be made available online without restriction so that […]

  8. […] (with help from others) has been trying to persuade RTÉ to make the footage of the election debates (Ahern-Kenny plus the four-way ’small […]

  9. […] has been an exciting development in my campaign (see my earlier posts: here, here and here) to persuade RTÉ to make the Prime Time leaders’ debates available online […]

  10. […] readers will recall my attempt to persuade RTÉ to make video of the Prime Time leaders’ debates available online without restriction so […]

  11. Neil Grogan says:

    It should be noted my name is not Niall, its Neil and that I was first to suggest RTE should do this (and also first to write to them). Not that this matters, but I am glad another person from the Blogosphere advocates free culture,

    Neil Grogan

  12. […] CBS releasing democratic debates under a permissive license in the United States has caused quite a few Irish bloggers to echo my call on RTE’s stance on releasing the Irish Election 2007 debates. […]

  13. Eoin says:

    Hi Neil,

    My sincere apologies for writing your name as Niall rather than Neil in the above post. I’m a permanent refugee from misspellings as well (Eoin is often Eoghan or Owen; O’Dell is often O’Dee or O’Neill), so I am horrifed that I should have visited a similar calumny on you. I have tried to make amends by correcting the error in the post above.

    Thanks for linking to the petition. Did you get a response to your email?


  14. […] the video can be lawfully share and reused without infringing RTÉ’s copyright. They were asked to do, and thought about it, but eventually said no (even though Fianna Fáil, of all parties, […]

  15. […] CBS releasing democratic debates under a permissive license in the United States has caused quite a few Irish bloggers to echo my call on RTE’s stance on releasing the Irish Election 2007 debates. […]

  16. […] CBS releasing democratic debates under a permissive license in the United States has caused quite a few Irish bloggers to echo my call on RTE’s stance on releasing the Irish Election 2007 debates. […]

  17. Neil Grogan says:

    Hey Eoin,

    Sorry to bother yoiu again. Just in case anyone is visiting these links – could you please update the link to me as: http://neil.grogan.ie/2007/05/irish-elections-creative-commons.html ?


  18. Eoin says:

    Hi Neil,



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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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