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.
The Commission is being established by the Department of the Taoiseach to consider the extent to which the current model of delivery is appropriate for the next 10 years.
They will also compare the current model with other European Economic Areas to ensure the Irish public has access to high quality, impartial and independent journalism, to inform and entertain and to ensure that creative Irish talent gets the opportunity to have their work reach audiences in Ireland.
The Commission will be expected to complete a report later this year which will include proposals on how public service aims should be delivered in Ireland over the next ten years. This work can be funded in a way that is sustainable, gives security of funding and delivers value for money to the public and making recommendations on RTÉ’s role, financing and structure.
Welcoming Prof. MacCraith’s appointment, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said, “Massive transformation is challenging the existing model…Brian, with his wealth of experience, will bring vision, independence and expertise to the role and is perfectly placed to lead this work,” and decide how best to deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future.”
Prof MacCraith said “I am honored and excited to have been invited to take on this challenging task…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.”
However, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) has cautioned that RTÉ is not the only broadcaster that produces public service content and that Commission must consider the future of the media landscape at large.
Chairman of the IBI, John Purcell said, “the remit of the Commission needs to look beyond RTÉ and focus on the future of all broadcasters with a statutory public service remit. Independent radio stations carry onerous public service obligations as part of their broadcasting contracts. These include news, current affairs, Irish language programming, farming and business programming and coverage of sporting events at a local, regional and national level.”
He noted that with 70 percent of the Irish audience tuning into independent radio stations every day, the new Commission cannot ignore the importance, impact and public service contribution of these radio stations.
Image Credit: DCU