Section 31 and Press Freedom

Today marks the 20th anniversary of UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. 

RTÉ Archives looks back to a '7 Days' programme following the introduction of Section 31 in 1971.

In the early 1970s, reporting on the increasingly complex politics of Northern Ireland created editorial dilemmas for RTÉ. Under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act it was forbidden to broadcast interviews with members of organisations which "engage in, promote, encourage or advocate the attaining of any political objective by violent means".

This '7 Days' programme presented by John O'Donoghue was broadcast on 5 October 1971.

Section 31 was repealed by Minister Michael D. Higgins in 1994. Following the Government decision to allow the Section 31 ban to lapse, RTÉ issued new broadcasting guidelines for its staff.

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