Thursday, 13 July 2023
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
428. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to outline clearly defined lines between and public and private broadcasting in this country, with a view to ensuring that both have a role to play; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35554/23]
The Broadcasting Act 2009 (as amended by the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022), which is under my remit as Minister, sets out the regulatory framework that applies to broadcasters established in the State, which includes public service broadcasters, whose role is set out in the statute, and commercial broadcasters, which are licenced by Coimisiún na Meán.
The Broadcasting Act 2009 provides for the licensing of commercial and community radio and television services as well as temporary and institutional radio services. The licensing process is intended to promote diversity of content by seeking applications for programme services that will add to the range of media services currently available in the State. Diversity of ownership is achieved by the licensing process via media ownership and control provisions set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009.
When Coimisiún na Meán awards a licence for a television or radio service, the successful party must enter into, and sign, a broadcasting contract with Coimisiún na Meán. The terms and conditions attaching to a broadcast contract will be determined by the type of licence applied for, and awarded. The types of contracts include commercial, community / community of interest and content provision for radio and television.
Coimisiún na Meán monitors a contractor’s compliance with the terms of its contract through a number of activities including performance reviews and listening and/or watching broadcast content. A contractor must seek prior approval of Coimisiún na Meán for any changes to the terms of contract and key contractual areas include the ownership and control and programming commitments schedules.
The role of our public service broadcasters is clearly defined in Part 7 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, with the public service objects of both RTÉ and TG4 clearly defined.
All programme material, whether provided by broadcasters licenced by Coimisiún na Meán or by our public service broadcasters, is regulated by Coimisiún na Méan under Part 3B of the Broadcasting Act 2009, which sets out the duties which applies to broadcasters and provides that Coimisiún na Meán may make media service codes and rules which set out regulatory requirements for all broadcasters.
Given their role under Part 7 of the Broadcasting Act, public service broadcasters are subject to a specific layer of regulation designed to ensure they are meeting their statutory public service objects and receive sufficient funding to meet those objects.