BAI launches public consultations – draft Media Plurality Policy and revised Ownership and Control Policy.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has, today (11.12.18), launched public consultations on a new draft Policy on Media Plurality and a draft revised Ownership and Control Policy. Views on both draft documents are now being sought from stakeholders and members of the public who will have up to 30th January 2019 to make submissions to the BAI.
Draft BAI Media Plurality Policy
The Mission in the BAI Statement of Strategy 2017 – 2019 states that the BAI will “promote a plurality of voices, viewpoints, outlets and sources in Irish media”. The primary purpose of the draft Media Plurality Policy is to set out how the BAI understands media plurality and how it will frame the wide range of activities that the BAI undertakes to promote and support media plurality in Ireland.
The draft policy document provides context for the BAI’s role in respect of media plurality; provides a definition for media plurality and outlines why it is important; details policy objectives; and outlines the measures the BAI takes and will continue to take to promote and support media plurality in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation today, Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The media enjoys a position of special rights and responsibilities and plays a key role in the exercise of freedom of expression, the development of civic discourse and the proper and adequate exercise of diversity that exists in our society. In this context, media pluralism makes an important contribution to a well-functioning democratic society. Where media plurality is healthy, it ensures citizen access to a variety of information sources, opinions and voices and reduces the undue influence of media and other political, social and commercial organisations or individuals in the formation of public views or the wielding of undue influence over the political process. This freedom of, and access to, information contributes to the effective participation of citizens in the democratic process.
“Promoting diversity and plurality is a key theme of the current BAI Strategy Statement 2017-2019. The Strategy identifies a number of objectives under this heading including the facilitation of a mix of voices, opinions and sources of news and current affairs; an increase in the production and availability of culturally relevant content for Irish audiences; the fostering and promotion of quality programming in the Irish language; and the fostering of a media landscape that is representative of, and accessible to, the diversity of Irish society. The draft document we are launching today reflects these key objectives.
Draft Revised Ownership and Control Policy
The BAI’s Ownership and Control Policy was first developed in 2001 and has been reviewed on a number of occasions, most recently in 2012. The policy is used by the BAI to assess the ownership and control elements of license applications and relevant requests for variations to the ownership and control of existing contractors, for example, changes in shareholdings and directors. The policy frames the BAI’s assessment and decisions in respect of the extent to which a concentration of ownership may be permitted. ln this regard, the policy sets an upper limit on any one individual or group of persons owning no more the 25 per cent of commercial radio services licensed in the State.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: “It is the practice of the BAI to review its policies on a periodic basis. The proposed new revised Ownership and Control Policy has been drafted following a review of how the existing policy has operated in practice and a targeted, independently carried out stakeholder consultation. Based on the outcome of the operational review and the stakeholder consultation, a number of modifications and revisions are now proposed in the revised draft policy document.
“The BAI’s Ownership and Control Policy has been designed to facilitate the continued development of a viable, sustainable and diverse broadcasting sector that is characterised by a plurality of ownership. The policy is also designed to provide clarity and certainty in respect of the regulatory approach to be adopted and the rules that will apply. Overall, the Authority believes that the revised policy document balances the needs of a continually evolving indigenous broadcasting sector with the BAI’s requirement to ensure plurality.
“The draft revised Ownership and Control Policy, together with the new draft Media Plurality Policy, are now being put out to public consultation to enable all of the BAI’s stakeholders and interested parties, including members of the public, to contribute to and support the development of these key policy areas.”
Contact: Tony Heffernan / Sebastian Enke, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-2399508 / 087-3239496
Note for Editors:
Both consultation documents are available on the BAI’s website at www.bai.ie/en/consultations and set out a series of questions on which the BAI is seeking the views of interested parties.
The submission can include a response to any or all of the consultation questions included in these documents. Submissions should be made by 30th January 2019. Responses can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or a form can be completed online at www.bai.ie/en/consultations. Postal responses can be submitted to:
BAI Ownership and Control Consultation,
Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,
2 – 5 Warrington Place,