Plurality is a central theme of the BAI’s Strategy Statement, and the Authority is committed to facilitating a mix of voices and opinions and ensuring a plurality of media sources for Irish audiences. The BAI’s role in promoting and supporting media plurality is undertaken in the context of the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014.
Media Plurality Policy
The primary purpose of the Media Plurality Policy is to set out how the Authority will support and promote media plurality. The policy provides context for the BAI’s role in respect of media plurality; provides a definition for media plurality; outlines why media plurality 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.
Ownership & Control Policy
This policy gives practical effect to the obligations set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009 which the BAI must consider when deciding on the most suitable applicant for the award of a radio or television service contract. It is also used by the BAI to assess requests for changes to the ownership and control of existing broadcasting services, for example, changes in shareholdings and directors. The policy provides guidance and rules for the BAI when considering the desirability of allowing any person, or group of persons, to have control of, or substantial interests in, an undue number of media services in the Irish State.
Media Ownership Ireland Database & Ownership and Control Reports
The Media Ownership Ireland website is a database designed and maintained by staff at the DCU School of Communications. It is an initiative of the BAI.
The database has been designed to be a useful reference point for the implementation of the Media Mergers section of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014, in particular, the BAI’s requirement to produce a report every three years that provides an analysis of the impact of relevant ownership and control changes on the plurality of media in the State. Two such reports have been published to date (2012 – 2014 and 2015 – 2017) and a third report is due for publication in 2021/2022.
Reuters Digital News Report Ireland
The annual Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford is the largest ongoing study of news consumption trends in the world. The global report covers 46 countries and the BAI sponsors the inclusion of Ireland in this international research project as part of its work on media plurality in Ireland. To maximise the use of the data, the BAI partners with DCU Institute of Future Media, Democracy and Society (FuJo) to produce a more detailed Irish specific report. More information on the 2021 report can be found here.
BAI & Disinformation
The BAI continues to play a leadership role in the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) subgroup on Disinformation. The Subgroup is assisting the EU Commission with assessing the implementation of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. In support of this activity, the BAI commissioned the Institute of Future Media, Democracy and Society (FuJo) at Dublin City University (DCU) to examine and report on how Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google implemented their commitments under this voluntary Code of Practice. In this regard the BAI has published three reports.
ElectCheck 2019 examined how Facebook, Twitter and Google implemented their commitments in relation to transparency of political advertising during the 2019 European Election campaign. A second report, CodeCheck, was published in April 2020 and looked at how Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google implemented their commitments under all five Pillars of the Code of Practice during 2019 with a particular focus on activities to empower consumers and the research community. A third report, CovidCheck, was published in September 2021 and focused on the platforms transparency reports regarding COVID 19. All three reports recommend that more robust procedures for reporting and monitoring online disinformation need to be developed for the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation to become a more effective tool in fighting disinformation.
EU Rule of Law Report
The BAI provided information to the European Commission’s DG Justice and Consumers team that were preparing the EU Rule of Law Report for 2021. The report was published in July 2021, and it provides an assessment of both the rule of law situation across the EU and in each Member State. The BAI also contributed to the inaugural Rule of Law report in 2020
Media Pluralism Monitor
The Media Pluralism Monitor published by the Centre for Media Pluralism in Florence Italy is a key information source for the Rule of Law Report. The BAI continue to act as an expert reviewer of the application of this monitor in Ireland and contributes to discussions about how the tool should evolve to reflect the evolving media landscape.