Credit: Gript Media

The curiously timed cancellation of a TV climate debate

A prominent Irish TV production company told participants it was scrapping the broadcast of a debate on climate change the day after it was announced that the company had been awarded nearly €500,000 in government grants to produce programmes on climate change.

Restaurateur Paul Treyvaud was earlier this week informed by Animo TV Productions that they had decided not to broadcast a segment, recorded earlier in the year, in which Treyvaud debated against a climate change activist.

The restaurateur had recorded a segment for a Virgin Media TV show called Eating with the Enemy, a show in which “strangers with extreme opposite views will be paired together for a meal.”

It was announced on Monday that Animo TV Productions, who produce Eating with the Enemy, were to be given €487,000 in government funds to produce content that “raises awareness of climate change and promotes action and behavioural change to combat it.” On Tuesday a representative of Animo called Treyvaud to inform him that they had decided not to broadcast his segment.

Treyvaud said he was told the segment had been removed as he had “absolutely destroyed” the climate change activist during the debate and that such destruction did not make for good TV. Treyvaud was not aware, until informed by Gript, that Animo had recently secured funding from a government scheme whose stated purpose is to promote climate programming which “results in behavioural change.”

Animo was the second largest beneficiary of the government funding, with only IBI stations, a body representing 34 independent radio stations, receiving a larger grant. IBI were awarded €600,000 to produce 50 episodes of a programme called ‘Ours to Protect,’ with Animo receiving €487,000 to produce 6 episodes of a programme titled ‘Skip Divers: The Ultimate Home Design Challenge.” The grants were given out under a special round of the Sound and Vision Scheme which was co-funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media, and the Department of the Environment.

We reached out to Animo with a number of questions about the decision not to broadcast Treyvaud’s piece; in particular we asked if the receipt of the government funding had any impact on the decision to remove the segment; and we asked if they had any comment on the general ethics of accepting government funding to produce content designed explicitly to cause behavioural changes, but we have yet to receive a response.

Treyvaud, when asked if he thought there was a link between the decision to remove his segment and Animo’s funding, told Gript that he did not wish to comment.

A full list of the grants given under this programme can be found HERE.

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