BAI responds to Government announcement on five-year review of funding for Public Service Broadcasting
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has welcomed the Government’s response to the BAI’s five year review of funding for public service broadcasters, and the associated recommendations made by the Authority.
Under Section 124(8) of the Broadcasting Act 2009, the BAI is required to undertake a five-yearly review of the adequacy of public funding to enable public service broadcaster to achieve their objectives, as set out in the Act. The first such review was undertaken by the BAI and its consultants, Crowe Horwarth. A comprehensive report and related recommendations was submitted to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. in June and was considered by Government yesterday (July 16th).
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, has acted quickly in reviewing the report and associated recommendations submitted to him by the BAI and the speed of the Government’s response is particularly welcomed. It underlines the importance of ensuring appropriate levels of funding for our public service broadcasters to best serve the needs of Irish audiences in a rapidly evolving media landscape. Aligned to this is the requirement for a requisite level of accountability in respect of how public money is utilised by RTÉ and TG4.
The Authority is satisfied that the Government’s position is in broad alignment with that of the BAI’s. Critically, there is a shared view that there should not be any immediate increase in the licence fee, but that additional public funds are likely to be required, particularly in the case of RTÉ, in the future. A further body of information is required that can inform specific levels of funding and measures needed to ensure that the public is adequately served by public service broadcasting and that public service broadcasters are maximising efficiencies with regard to the use of public funds.
The Authority has long expressed its view that a singular approach to determining the appropriate level of advertising minuteage across the public and commercial broadcasting sectors is warranted and we welcome the Government’s stated intentions in this regard.
The BAI now looks forward to working with both the Minister in respect of its expanded role, as envisaged in the Government’s response, and to working with New Era in ensuring that their independent assessments, as mandated by Government, are informed by the outcomes of the five year review and the previous annual reviews of public funding undertaken by the BAI, such that they can support the Authority regulatory role in this area into the future.
The BAI will host a media briefing on the background and scope of the review, as well as detail its recommendations to Government at 11am on Thursday, 18th July at BAI offices, 2 – 5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2. Spokespersons will be available for comment on the Government’s recommendations at this time.
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