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Government respond to RTÉ Revised Strategy
The Government have today responded to RTÉ’s revised strategy, announcing a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting is to be established.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said:
Broadcasting – national and local, is an important channel for expression of culture and community, for supporting creative talent and for independent, objective reporting of current affairs for citizens.
Massive transformation is challenging the existing model. Today, the main source of news for 52% of over 65 year olds is TV, with 18% being from radio. In sharp contrast, of 18-24 year olds, it is 18% who rely on TV, with 6% sourcing their news from radio and 71% from social media and other online sources.
This gives rise to new challenges. Today, the Government agreed to establish a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting to consider how best to deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future.
A Commission on Irish Public Service Broadcasting is being established by the Department of the Taoiseach to bring forward proposals by September 2020 (to ensure input before Budget 2021) The Minister has today published the terms of reference (see notes to editor) for the Commission. The Commission will review the current approach and make recommendations to Government on setting a new strategic direction for public service broadcasting provided at national, regional and local level in light of international experience and future trends. Membership will be decided shortly.
In light of its financial difficulties, RTÉ submitted a revised strategy which has now been considered by Government, following an evaluation by NewEra. The Government have agreed to provide an additional €10m funding to broadcasting with approx €9m going to RTÉ to implement this new plan. This funding is in addition to the allocation of €10m additional funding made between 2018 and 2019.
The provision of this additional funding will be accompanied by new reporting requirements including a structured reporting template which will also see monthly meetings between RTÉ and the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment working with NewERA.
The funding will come from the Department of Social Protection vote, in respect of free TV Licences and is to be provided in the 2020 revised Estimates.
Minister Bruton said,
RTÉ must make changes to reposition itself. However, it is also important that a careful assessment take place of what are the models and funding mechanisms that can best support the continuing important public service goals. This is Government meeting RTÉ halfway on the financial challenges they face.
The Government also today agreed that RTÉ should not proceed with the part sale of the site, as intended in their plan, until the work of the Commission is completed and considered by Government, given that its recommendations may impact on decisions regarding the size and requirements of RTÉ.