The BAI will hold Public Service Broadcasters to account to ensure they demonstrate transparency and accountability in their use of public funds, in accordance with the requirements of Irish and European law, and that they continue to provide the level of service that the audience expects of them.
The public service broadcasters, the RTÉ Group of stations and TG4, are licensed by the Minister of the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The BAI has responsibility for regulating particular aspects of the public service broadcasters.
Annual Statement of Performance Commitments
Each year, RTÉ and TG4 are required to prepare an Annual Statement of Performance Commitments (ASPC) and to publish this document, having consulted with the Authority and the Minister.
The ASPC of each PSB is required to take into account the organisation’s objects under the Broadcasting Act, their strategy statement and their public service statement. It must also detail any activities which the broadcaster intends to commit to in that year and to include any associated performance indicators.
Having made commitments in each year, the PSB is subsequently required to submit a report to the Authority and the Minister detailing how it has performed against the commitments set in the previous year and to provide an explanation of any differences arising.
Annual Review of Public Funding
Each year, the BAI is required to carry out a review of both RTÉ and TG4 which examines:
- The extent to which a PSB has, during the previous financial year, fulfilled its commitments as set out in the broadcaster’s annual statement of performance commitments.
- Review the adequacy, or otherwise, of public funding to allow the PSB meet its public service objectives.
On completion of the review, the BAI submits a report to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, detailing the outcomes of the review and providing a recommendation, in relation to any modification to the television licence fee and a recommendation in relation to the amount of any payment to be made to TG4.
Having considered the Authority’s report, the Minister publishes his response to any recommendations made. This response, together with any report and recommendations of the Authority is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The reports are publicly available. The most recent report, and the supporting documentation, is included here.
Five Year Review of Public Broadcasters
The BAI is required, on a five-yearly basis, to conduct a review of the adequacy, or otherwise, of public funding to enable public service broadcasters to meet their public service objects. The review incorporates the consideration of a broad range of matters, including a detailed analysis of costed strategic plans submitted by both PSBs; the multi-annual funding requirements of the PSBs; the level of commercial funding available; and developments in public service broadcasting internationally.
The BAI commissioned Crowe Horwath to undertake the first five-year funding review, and the report produced was used to inform the Authority’s considerations and recommendations on future funding for RTÉ and TG4. The Authority’s report and a range of recommendations were submitted to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in July 2013. The documentation available to date is:
Monitoring of Broadcast Content
The purpose of this activity is to review broadcaster’s compliance with their statutory obligations for minuteage requirements in relation to advertising and news and current affairs; with the BAI’s General Commercial Communications Code and the Children’s Commercial Communications Code; and in addition for television services, compliance with the BAI’s Access Rules.
Any viewer or listener who is not happy about broadcast content on an RTÉ station or TG4 can make a complaint to the broadcaster and if not satisfied with the broadcaster’s response, can refer the complaint to the BAI.
RTÉ and TG4 obliged to provide a complaints page, including access to the Right of Reply scheme, on their websites. The contact details of the broadcasters, including links to their respective complaint pages, are available on the List of TV and Radio Stations.
The Compliance Committee of the BAI can conduct an investigation with sanction ensuing into an apparent programming or commercial communication breach by a public service broadcaster. The BAI has conducted one such investigation.
Voluntary Disclosure of Non-compliance
A broadcaster or contractor may at any time report voluntarily to the BAI a compliance issue arising from its own activities, pursuant to the statute and/or its contract with the BAI. This is actively encouraged by the BAI.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources may request from the BAI reports, pursuant to any one of a range of statutory provisions, on compliance by a broadcaster or a contractor with a particular code or rule pursuant to this Act.