There have been a number of cases here in Ireland where politicians and other high-profile people (high-profile here, not necessarily anywhere else) have successfully sued individual broadcasters and / or their programmes or hosting company (which has in the past included RTE) over allegedly libelous or defamatory statements or programme content. A number of those cases have been valid, but some have been nothing short of bullying tactics aimed at silencing dissent or criticism. Most have succeeded. In one famous case from 4 or 5 years ago, the then-Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) threatened legal action after an art gallery hung two paintings depicting a caricature of him in a state of undress (in kind of a “the emperor has no clothes” concept). The art was removed. What’s worse, he also threatened legal action against RTE which included a piece about the art in its news programmes. Bizarrely, RTE issued an on-air apology to him on the news the following day.
As a result, there is an utterly ridiculous terror of libel, and way over the top efforts by RTE and other media (notably Today FM and the RTE radio outlets) to backpeddle and apologise profusely whenever any guest or interviewee says anything which might, at even the wildest stretch of the imagination, be considered to leave an opening for a lawsuit. It matters not whether any statement is backed up by rock solid evidence (such as is the case with the writings of John Waters, a disgusting bigot, and with the public statements and actions of the Iona Institute).
So RTE censoring a recorded interview, which has already gone out live, is not a shock. Its just indicative of the broader problem of cowardice and complacency within the media here, and a symptom of the cosy relationship that journalists and media organisations like to foster with the powers that be.