The BAI aims to promote a plurality of voices, viewpoints, outlets and sources in Irish media and to foster diverse and culturally relevant quality content for Irish audiences.
The BAI has a central role in promoting increased representation of the diversity of Irish society in the broadcast media and looks to support partnership opportunities, events, training initiatives, funding opportunities and conversations with the industry to identify approaches to support greater diversity. This work incorporates the Irish Language, Gender and groups under-represented in Irish Society.
In 2020 a sub-budget of Sectoral Learning & Development annual funding was allocated to provide specific support to projects promoting diversity. The funding aims to support new initiatives in the areas of Irish Language, Gender Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, and to reflect additional BAI commitments in these areas. See below for details of recent initiatives.
X-Pollinator is an ambitious cross-disciplinary professional development and networking initiative aiming to kickstart collaborations between female and non-binary writing and directing talent and take positive action to rapidly address the lack of gender diversity in the Irish screen industry. In 2021, with support from the BAI, X-Pollinator conducted an eight-week online development programme, ELEVATOR that supported twenty emerging and diverse female and non-binary writers and directors to meet the screen industry, build a network, develop their projects and become the inclusive leaders of the future. After a competitive pitching session, the winning pitch was awarded to Esosa Ighodaro with her project JUST ENOUGH CHILLI, with honourable mentions going to Caitlin Magnall-Kearns for her project CHRIS & LOU and Al Bellamy for their project SCULPT. You can read more about the initiative here.
- Diversity & Inclusion
Dundalk Institute of Technology has been offered 2021 funding support to carry out research relating to Access services for the visually-impaired. The research project entitled ‘Investigating a Standardised Approach to Setting Audio Description Dip Values’ aims to better understand the relationship between audio-described TV programme volume levels and the perceived quality of the programme’s audio descriptions. The study is primarily focused on the end-user experience, how this experience can be improved, and how greater consistency can be brought to audio description services.
Diversity Initiatives – Irish Language
Through its Sectoral Learning & Development function, the BAI supports a wide range of projects in the area of Irish Language.
- Irish Language
Oireachtas na Gaeilge received funding support for the continued development and operation of the Aerthonnta website. Aerthonnta is an information service for those broadcasting in Irish on radio stations throughout Ireland, providing information for the whole Irish language community about the programmes available to them in their localities. Aerthonnta provides weekly updates about relevant events, broadcasting-related news and the main stories affecting the Irish language community.
One activity in 2020 was to combine the website with a new database and directory resource called Eolaire. This development work will provide a registration point for fluent Irish speakers interested in applying for broadcasting jobs in the Irish language. In addition, commercial and community radio stations can use the directory as a recruitment resource. Oireachtas na Gaeilge will continue to develop the resource in 2021 with promotion and public awareness campaigns.
Glúin Nua is a partnership proposal between BAI, TG4, Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Launched in July 2020 at the Galway Film Fleadh, the initiative aims to foster first-time directors and writers who have a strong understanding of the digital environment and who can create engaging stories in the Irish language across platforms. A selection round was conducted by TG4 in December 2020 and successful projects are currently in production.
BAI-funded Diversity Research
The following diversity-focused research projects were undertaken with BAI funding support:
- Auditing gender and diversity change in Irish media sectors
This research project was led by Dr Anne O’Brien of Maynooth University and was awarded funding under the BAI Media Research Funding Scheme. A collaboration between MU, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and University College Dublin, the research project examines how gender and diversity policies are promoted and implemented by broadcasters, training bodies and production companies. The final report was published in July 2021 and is available here.
- RTÉ and Covid-19 – Diversity and Inclusion and meeting public needs
This research project was led Dr Eileen Culloty and Dr Colm Kearns of Dublin City University and was undertaken with the cooperation of Dr Zbyszek Zalinski, RTÉ Diversity and Inclusion Lead. The project examines the role of public service media in Ireland during Covid-19 and also looks at issues of diversity in coverage during Covid-19. The research project was awarded funding under the BAI Media Research Funding Scheme. The final report was published in August 2021 and is available here.
- NUIG Phase 3 research on Use of Irish on Radio Services
In 2019 BAI offered Diversity (Irish) funding support to Dr John Walsh of NUI Galway to carry out a research project on the use of Irish Language on Irish Radio services. This research project is the third phase of an investigation into the use of the Irish language on all of Ireland’s radio services with the exception of stations broadcasting exclusively in Irish. The research project was undertaken in 2020 and the final report was published in March 2021. Download the report here.
S&V Diversity Reports
Below you will find useful links to reports from recent Sound & Vision rounds which provide statistics and information in relation to Diversity.
Irish Language Scheme
In accordance with the Official Languages Act 2003, public bodies are obliged to prepare a language scheme on a three-year basis detailing the services which they will provide:
- through the medium of Irish,
- through the medium of English, and
- through the medium of Irish and English
and the measures to be adopted to ensure that any service not currently provided by the body through the medium of the Irish language will be so provided within an agreed timeframe.
The BAI Irish Language Scheme 2020-2023 sets out organisational commitments in relation to the Irish language to be fulfilled over a three-year period, taking into account what is practical and achievable within that timeframe. This is the BAI’s third Irish Language Scheme. Further information about the scheme can be obtained by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Language Team
The Irish language team comprises four staff members who lead and implement the BAI’s Irish language work activities, including Irish language governance requirements under the Irish Language Scheme and initiatives under the BAI Irish Language Action Plan. We are happy to correspond through the medium of Irish and respond to queries in Irish, or related to Irish, and there is a dedicated email address email@example.com where we can be contacted for advice and support in relation to Irish language matters.
If you would like to contact a staff member who speaks Irish, you can speak to Clare Diamond, Caroline Keville, Fionnuala Murphy or Sara Mc Namara.
Irish Language Action Plan
Published in February 2019, the BAI Irish Language Action Plan supports the delivery of the BAI’s strategic objectives under the Strategic Theme of Promoting Plurality and Diversity. The Plan focuses on the following five key areas:
- Supporting, developing and promoting Irish Language programming and stations through Licensing and Broadcasting Fund initiatives;
- Fostering Irish language partnerships;
- Supporting Research;
- Collecting data; and
- Enhancing accountability processes, including compliance monitoring and reporting.
The BAI Irish Language Plan can be downloaded here.
Irish Language Advisory Committee
A key initiative under the BAI Irish Language Action Plan was the establishment of The Irish Language Advisory Committee, which is jointly chaired by the BAI and Foras na Gaeilge. The role of the Committee is to drive the implementation of the Plan in consultation with a range of Irish language stakeholders who are also members of the Committee.
In 2020, the Committee progressed the following initiatives and areas of focus:
- Ongoing exploration of the potential for a youth-driven hybrid service for radio;
- Provision of support resources for broadcasters; and
- Creation of collaboration opportunities and resource-sharing for broadcasters.
The Committee reports to the BAI Authority and to the board of Foras na Gaeilge on an annual basis. The 2020 Committee Report is available here.
MLI Irish Language Working Group
Media Literacy Ireland (MLI) is an informal alliance of organisations and individuals who work together on a voluntary basis to promote media literacy in Ireland. In 2020, MLI established an Irish Language Working Group, in order to support media literacy through the Irish language. The BAI is a member of the Irish language Working Group.
In April 2021 this working group in partnership with Raidió na Gaeltachta hosted a public awareness event promoting the Be Media Smart campaign. This innovative event consisted of a webinar (accessible here) which was broadcast live online via MLI and was repeated on the An tSeachtain le Máirín Ní Ghadhra programme. It was very positively received by the Irish language community.
Irish Language Data Collection Project:
The Irish Language Data Collection project is an initiative of the BAI which implements key objective 4 of the Irish Language Action Plan (Collecting data). The project began in 2020 when BAI requested programme data and recordings from broadcasters for a specific week in October 2019, to begin to build a comprehensive knowledge base on the quantity and range of Irish language/bilingual programming that is being broadcast across the TV/radio sector on a weekly basis. This data was collated and analysed and the first Irish Language Data Collection Report sets out these findings. The report was published in February 2021.The BAI plans to collect data from broadcasters on an annual basis to build on this knowledge base.
BAI’s Commitment to its Public Sector Duty
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 introduces a positive duty on public bodies to have due regard to human rights and equality issues. This is a legal obligation and is contained in Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014.
Section 42 states: A public body shall, in the performance of its functions, have regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination;
- Promote equality of opportunity and treatment of its staff and the persons to whom it provides services; and
- Protect the human rights of its members, staff, and the persons to whom it provides services.
In its Strategy Statement 2021-2023, the BAI commits to a proactive approach to implementing this duty and it has produced an action plan for implementing the Public Sector Human Rights and Equality Duty.
The BAI’s plan can be viewed here
The analysis undertaken by the BAI to inform this plan can be viewed here
BAI Gender Action Plan
In 2018, the BAI developed a Gender Action Plan (“the Plan”). The Plan addresses four key areas in promoting greater gender equality. These are:
- Data collection and publication
- Supporting Research
- Encouraging the development of gender initiatives internally, and with stakeholders
- Enhancing accountability processes, including monitoring and reporting.
The BAI conducted a review of the Gender Action Plan in early 2020 and you can find a copy of the review document here.
A second review of the Plan is ongoing and is due to be published later in 2022. As part of this review process a Stakeholder Consultation was undertaken in 2021. This Consultation was led by researcher Deirdre Kevin from the consultancy company CommSol and a copy of the final consultation report can be found here.