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Broadcasting Position Paper

Fairness in Broadcasting
A Fianna Fáil Policy Position

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Broadcasting Position Paper

Overview
Since the introduction of broadcasting to Ireland in 1926, radio and television have become an essential part of people’s lives. From a starting point of one national radio station, Irish broadcasting has expanded to include state-funded, commercial and community radio and television stations which broadcast in English and Irish and cater for various age groups in every corner of our island. Technological advancement and changing attitudes present new challenges and opportunities for the sector. What does public service broadcasting mean in the 21st Century? Should taxpayers’ money be spent across a broader range of broadcasters of television and radio? Does new media have a role in terms of public service output? These questions are fundamental to any strategy for the sector. Fianna Fáil believes that the people of Ireland should be served by a broadcasting sector which is vibrant, competitive, entertaining and informative. The sector should produce programme material of the highest quality with a strong focus on the public interest and the provision of indigenous programming. We believe that local, independent and community radio is a vital part of public sector broadcasting, in respect of covering local special interest and sporting events, in helping to preserve our local cultural heritage, and in providing local news and information. This should be recognised accordingly.

Context

Ireland’s broadcasters can be divided into three separate sections – state funded broadcasters, independent commercial broadcasters, and community broadcasters.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 allowed for the formation of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) which acts as an independent regulator for the broadcasting sector.

According to the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR), approximately 85% of the Irish population tune into Irish public and commercial radio stations
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Broadcasting Position Paper

on a daily basis and listen for an average of 4 hours a day. This is far in excess of the European average.

The success in Ireland of local commercial radio is unique in a European context. Many local radio stations have a market share of more than 50% and dominate all other media including the state owned broadcaster in their local areas. The foundation of this success is local speech based content.

Changes in technology, including the introduction of digital broadcasting and the increasing array of platforms on which media may be consumed, will have wide implications on the broadcasting sector and on the audiences.

Fianna Fáil’s Goals and Objectives for the Sector
We believe in:
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Public service broadcasting; The provision of a strong, and vibrant broadcasting environment for the people of Ireland;

A viable broadcasting sector that reflects the interests of the people, satisfies the provision of the audience’s broadcasting requirements and offers quality content for its audiences;

A competitive and fair playing pitch among all broadcasters, that can adapt to the changes in technology in a timely manner and allow for broadcasters to act in the interest of and for the benefit of the audience they serve;

A broadcasting environment that facilitates fair, regionally balanced and responsible broadcasting, without fear of political or regulatory repercussion, that has the audience as its main focus and priority and ensuring that such an environment is sustained;

The maintaining and further creation of jobs outside of large urban centres, through broadcasters such as TG4, local, regional and community radio
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Broadcasting Position Paper

stations, and including independent production companies and regionally based broadcasting correspondents.

The preservation of our natural and local cultural and historical heritage. The maintenance of vibrant and diverse Irish language broadcasting.

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