Regulate to achieve a responsible and accountable broadcasting sector;
the BAI will give effect to the principles set out in its Compliance and Enforcement policy through measures that are fair and proportionate, that reflect audience needs and are adequate for the purposes of statutory reporting and holding broadcasters to account.
Any viewer or listener who is not satisfied with broadcasting content, be it programming, advertising or sponsorship content, can make a complaint. The BAI makes codes and rules for the different types of content to inform broadcasters, viewers and listeners of the standards expected in broadcasting content. The BAI also publishes guidance notes on the codes and rules setting out how such codes and rules apply in a broadcasting context.
The BAI publishes its decisions on complaints in the publications section.
Monitoring Compliance with Codes & Rules
The BAI regulates all content broadcast on all Irish licensed broadcasters, both programming and commercial content. In addition to processing broadcasting complaints, the BAI monitors broadcast content for compliance with broadcasting codes and rules.
The BAI is also responsible for reporting to the Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on the level of Irish produced programming on Irish licensed commercial television services and the extent to which opt-out advertising on services licensed outside the State complies with the BAI’s advertising codes and in particular, content likely to be of direct or indirect interest to children.
When the Authority awards a licence for a television or radio service, the successful party must enter into, and sign, a broadcasting contract with the BAI. The terms and conditions attaching to a broadcast contract will be determined by the type of licence applied for, and awarded. The types of contracts include commercial, community / community of interest and content provision for radio and television. The broadcasting contracts are publicly available on request from the BAI’s offices.
The BAI monitors a contractor’s compliance with the terms of its contract through a number of activities including performance reviews and listening and/or watching broadcast content. The reports generated by these activities are considered by the Compliance Committee.
A contractor must seek prior approval of the Authority for any changes to the terms of contract and key contractual areas include the ownership and control and programming commitments schedules.
Public Service Broadcasters
In addition to regulating the content on the public service broadcasters, RTÉ and TG4, through monitoring compliance with codes and rules and the complaints process, the BAI also has three significant areas of regulatory responsibility for such broadcasters:
- Annual Statement of Performance Commitments
- Annual Review of Public Funding
- Five Year Review of Public Broadcasters
- Sectoral Impact Assessments
There is a range of other activities relating to PSBs on request from the Minister of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
The BAI is responsible for the development of the broadcasting sector and one of its activities in this area is the awarding of funding for training and development activities. The BAI is also responsible for the disbursement of significant funds under the Broadcasting Funding Scheme (1. Sound & Vision III and 2. Archiving Scheme).
On the award of funding, the grantee must sign a grant agreement with the BAI and subsequently, to receive the funding awarded, must demonstrate compliance with the grant agreement prior to the drawdown of any further funds.
The 2009 Act assigns investigative powers to the BAI and in particular, the BAI can initiate an investigation for non-compliance with the terms of a broadcasting contract under section 50 and for a breach of the broadcasters duties as prescribed under the 2009 Act, or a breach of the broadcasting codes and rules, under section 53. The BAI has agreed procedures for the investigative process.
Compliance & Enforcement
The compliance activities of the BAI are one of the core elements of its work. They have been developed over many years, principally with the aim of monitoring, encouraging and promoting a culture of compliance within the broadcasting sector in Ireland and providing safeguards for audiences. Compliance also informs key areas of work such as the awarding of licences, the development of codes and rules and provides useful information on overall industry trends.
A Compliance and Enforcement Policy has been developed by the BAI to provide a framework for all broadcaster and compliance activities. The Policy sets out the BAI’s general approach to dealing with compliance by, and enforcement against, all broadcasters and contractors licensed in the State. It is a general guide to how the BAI currently operates and is not intended to be exhaustive, but informative.