The President of Dublin City University, Professor Brian MacCraith, has been appointed as Chair of the new Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting.
Welcoming the appointment, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said,
"Public service broadcasting is more important now than ever. Massive transformation is challenging the existing model. A Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting is now being established to consider how best to deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future. Brian, with his wealth of experience, will bring vision, independence and expertise to the role and is perfectly placed to lead this work."
The Commission is being established by the Department of the Taoiseach and its Terms of Reference are:
A well-functioning media, and in particular public service broadcasting, delivers four important public services to Irish society:
- To inform, educate and entertain the Irish public with regard to matters of Irish culture, identity, sport, language and other matters inherent to Ireland and the Irish people;
- To ensure that the public has access to high quality, impartial, independent journalism, reporting on matters of local, regional, national, European and international importance in a balanced way and which contributes to democratic discourse;
- To bring the nation and diaspora together at moments of great national importance;
- To ensure that creative Irish talent gets the opportunity to have their work reach audiences in Ireland and, where possible, further afield.
Since the foundation of the State, these aims have been, and continue to be, delivered by a wide number of media organisations with RTÉ and TG4, as the public service broadcasters, playing a central role. More recently, the Sound and Vision Scheme, which amounts of 7% of net TV licence revenue, has supported content with public service value by all broadcasters in conjunction with the independent production sector.
The independent Commission is to:
Identify what the Irish experience has been in delivering the above aims through public service broadcasters and other media outlets at a local, regional and national level and the challenges created for these media by new global platforms and changing audience preferences in relation to how content is delivered;
Consider the extent to which the current model of delivery is the appropriate one for the next 10 years;
Review best practice in other comparable jurisdictions across the European Economic Area in terms of providing a future-proofed model for meeting the above four public services in light of changing audience expectations, in particular the preferences and behaviours of younger audiences.
Arising from that work, the Commission is tasked with:
proposing how those public service aims should be delivered in Ireland over the next ten years;
how this should contribute to supporting Ireland's cultural and creative sectors;
how this work can be funded in a way that is sustainable, gives security of funding, ensures independent editorial oversight and delivers value for money to the public;
making recommendations on RTÉ's role, financing and structure within this framework;
how this is overseen and regulated, having regard to our EU obligations including the requirements of the revised AudioVisual Media Services Directive.
The Commission will commence its formal work programme, including requesting submissions from interested parties and the general public, over the coming months. Its report is due to be completed later this year. It will therefore be a matter for consideration by the incoming Government and Oireachtas.
Speaking today, Professor MacCraith said:
"I am honoured and excited to have been invited to take on this challenging task.
The need for high quality public service broadcasting that reflects Ireland's cultural and creative identity in all its dimensions, as well as ensuring impartial and authoritative journalism, has never been more important.
It is essential that we find a sustainable and effective model for Irish public service broadcasting in the modern media landscape and devise a financial pathway that is capable of sustaining quality content. I look forward to leading a process that involves a broad range of consultation and learns from best international practice."
Note to the Editor:
CV of Chair