Views of public will guide what RTÉ will do over the years ahead
- Almost 10,000 people shared their views in February and March 2021
- Strong public mandate that will inform what RTÉ does in the future
- Strong public support for wide range of public service programming and content
- See the results in detail and watch our promo at www.rte.ie/haveyoursay or www.rte.ie/tabhairdothuairim
Almost 10,000 members of the public have responded to RTÉ’s invitation to say what they think about RTÉ through its ‘Have your say’ campaign.
In February and March 2021, through an independent survey, and following a national ‘Have Your Say’ media campaign, members of the public were invited to give their views on RTÉ and what they want from it, whether they regularly consume RTÉ’s television, radio or online services, or not. These views will guide what RTÉ will do over the years ahead.
Under the Broadcasting Act (2009), RTÉ is required to consult with the public and prepare a Public Service Statement every five years. This statement sets out the principles to be observed and activities to be undertaken by RTÉ in order to fulfil its public service remit. This year’s consultation received the largest ever response to a media consultation with the Irish public.
The anonymous survey was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) on behalf of RTÉ and all members of the public were invited to give their opinions.
What the public told us.
About RTÉ programming and content
- 89% say it is important that RTÉ produces a mix of programmes and content.
- 89% agree audiences should have access to a broad range of high-quality content that is from Ireland.
- 91% say it is important RTÉ provides programmes and content that cover a wide range of interests.
- 92% say it is important to provide coverage of events of national interest across culture, sport, politics and other areas.
- 87% also say it is important that RTÉ provides archive material documenting the heritage and everyday life of Ireland, which should be accessible in all formats (video, audio, and written).
About what’s important to people
In general, there is strong support for all public service principles RTÉ follows:
- Being independent from political, commercial and other influences
- Acting in the best interest of society
- Being for everyone and available to everyone (universality)
- Striving for excellence
- Providing a platform for Ireland’s creative talent and culture
- Supporting innovation and creativity
- Promoting Ireland’s diversity and culture
- Being accountable to the public and stakeholders
Independence and accountability: 94% say it is important that RTÉ is independent from political, commercial and other influences; this is the number one principle (same as 2015). Being accountable is the second most important principle for the public (91%). In terms of accountability, 96% want RTÉ to provide the opportunity for public feedback and complaints and the same number want RTÉ to ensure it is managed in line with best practice.
High quality news: 97% say it’s important that RTÉ provides high quality national and international news and current affairs that is accurate, fair, impartial and objective. RTÉ must also make autonomous editorial decisions and 96% say it is important that RTÉ hold those in positions of authority to account.
Debate: 92% say it is important for RTÉ to facilitate debate on views and ideas that contribute to a democratic society.
Access: 94% say it is important that RTÉ ensures people with disabilities can access RTÉ programming and services, while 92% say it is important that RTÉ content and services are as accessible as possible to everyone.
Diversity: 74% say it’s important that RTÉ creates content that reflects the diversity that exists in Ireland.
According to the survey, the public also wants RTÉ to entertain them and make them laugh, to provide quality documentaries that get that nation talking and to provide a platform for Ireland’s artists, musicians, and culture.
According to Dee Forbes: “We’d like to thank almost 10,000 members of the public for sharing your views with us. These views will play an important part in shaping what RTÉ, as your public service media, does in the years ahead, as part of our ongoing commitment to meeting your needs.
While the survey provides much food for thought, it is encouraging to see that the public supports RTÉ as an independent, strong, and accountable public service media that informs, engages, and entertains a wide range of audiences through our programming and our services. We do not take this support for granted. We will now further explore this valuable feedback as we develop RTÉ’s Public Service Statement in the coming months and plot our path for the future.”
For more information and to read the report in full, visit www.rte.ie/haveyoursay.
About RTÉ’s Public Service Statement
Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ is required to prepare a Public Service Statement every five years, and this must be informed by a public consultation. This Statement is to explain to the public the principles RTÉ will observe and activities it will undertake to deliver its public service remit.
In 2021, this process involved two exercises: a public consultation survey was complemented by a nationally representative quantitative survey, with the same core questionnaire administered to both survey samples.
The primary objective of this research is to inform RTÉ’s next PSS via gathering statistically reliable and valid data regarding:
- RTÉ’s purpose and principles, such as independence and accountability.
- RTÉ’s content remit such as genre expectations, and the experience and impact it has on people.
- RTÉ’s universality remit, exploring areas such as diversity, Irish language, and Irish abroad.
About the survey.
About the survey methodology
In designing the public consultation, RTÉ’s objectives were for it to be as open and inclusive as possible, to collect the views of as many members of the public as possible. The consultation was supported by a national media campaign letting the public know it was happening and inviting them to take part and ‘Have your say’: details on this are included in the next section.
The consultation methodology involved two exercises, where an self-select open-invitation public consultation survey was complemented by a nationally representative quantitative survey. This effective and efficient approach aligns with best-practice and Government’s national guidelines on undertaking public consultations.
The same core questionnaire was administered to both survey samples, using the same methodology (in this instance, a CAWI approach). The national benchmark survey was conducted via the B&A Acumen Panel, amongst a representative sample of 1,000+ adults aged 18 years+, and an online approach was also applied to the open-invitation public consultation. There were 9,826 responses to the open public consultation survey.
To maximise the accessibility of the consultation to all individuals and groups in the country, the online survey was available in both the Irish and English language, was tested for ease of use with visibility impairment software and was available as a paper copy for those without online access.
The public consultation was live for five weeks during the period 15 February to 21 March 2021. The survey was hosted at a dedicated landing page on rte.ie, available in Irish and English: www.rte.ie/haveyoursay and www.rte.ie/tabhairdothuairim.
RTÉ is considering the public consultation findings. These findings will inform RTÉ’s next Public Service Statement which is like a charter or mandate from the public, RTÉ’s audience. This statement will guide what RTÉ will do over the years ahead and will feed into the organisation’s longer-term strategy.
When a draft statement has been approved by the RTÉ Board later in 2021, it will then go to the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media for her approval, subject to consultation with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. When RTÉ’s statement has been given Ministerial consent, it will be published on www.rte.ie alongside these consultation findings.