Banned UK Parliament Satire In the UK it is illegal to broadcast parliamentary proceedings in a comedic or satirical context

Satirical coverage of British Parliament: Banned in the UK

Have you ever wondered why Have I got News For You or Mock The Week is so utterly barren when it comes to footage from Parliament? Ironically, the rest of the world can laugh at our politicians all they wish but we Brits aren’t afforded that right. In fact, it took 50 years before any form of broadcast from Parliament whatsoever was permitted on our screens. Today, Parliament can be broadcast only if it is not appearing on satire or comedy programmes. Furthermore, clips can not be broadcast anywhere that might cast doubt upon the “dignity of the House”. This is why episodes of satirical shows broadcast abroad such as the Daily Show are occasionally silently banned from being aired on British TV. Similar rules apply regarding royal matters, the BBC have even ordered foreign broadcatsers to censure humorists that make use of their coverage of the Royals.

Here’s a snapshot of what we could be missing out on, taken from the Irish Parliament. The following clip is perfectly legal in the UK but if you’re reading from Ireland you’d better turn away now as the Irish have a similar law, making it effectively illegal to broadcast this clip in Ireland unless you can somehow manage to fail to construe it as humorous. So just to clarify, if you are reading from Ireland, this clip containing “most unparliamentary language”, is not a joke.


Graham Lineman: Get a load of this ridiculous thing I found the fuck out last night! (major hat tip)
What Do They Know: Televising Parliament (See Section 4)
New Statesman: Why our parliament is literally beyond satire
Snapstream: It’s illegal to use government footage on TV for comedy/satire in the UK & Australia!
BoingBoing: Daily Show episode yanked from UK TV because Brit law prohibits using Parliamentary footage in satire
Digital Spy: ‘Chaser’ royal wedding show banned

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  • Jackie

    Well done, Sir!!! I applaud you.

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