RTÉ Response to Future of Media Commission Report Publication
12th July 2022
RTÉ would like to thank the members of the Future of Media Commission for their work, and to the hundreds of stakeholders, who participated in what was an extensive and in-depth deliberation on the future of media in Ireland. It is gratifying to see that the report acknowledges the importance of a diverse and vibrant media, and the multi-faceted role that it plays within Irish life. Importantly the unique role of national public service media has also been affirmed in the report.
The commitment by Government today to link the licence fee to how media is now consumed is to be welcomed. This is critical given how much media consumption habits have been changed by the internet in the last decade. Reform of the TV Licence system is an issue which has been extensively debated and researched, and there are numerous other examples of remedial measures on an international basis. RTÉ would strongly impress upon Minister Martin, of the need to ensure any legislative changes and system reforms are progressed as quickly as possible and within the lifetime of this government.
Director-General Dee Forbes said:
“Over the past decade, RTÉ, along with numerous stakeholders, has called for the licence fee system, which is utterly broken, to be meaningfully reformed. The decision by Government today to align the obligation to pay the Licence Fee with how people consume media today is critical to ensure the future sustainability of the system. We will engage with the proposed working group as to the scope of legislative and system changes that are required, and we trust reforms will be decided upon and implemented quickly. RTÉ also welcomes that the Government is accepting the recommendations in the Report regarding the need for interim funding while the reforms to the Licence Fee system are being further examined.”
RTÉ will continue to do everything in its power to deliver a national public service media to be proud of; but implementing essential reform is essential to address persistent financial instability. We very much welcome that the Future of Media Commission report strongly advocates that with the creation of the Media Commission, that a system of politically independent assessment, with binding recommendations on funding, is implemented within the next two years.”
RTÉ Chair, Moya Doherty said:
“I understand that difficult decisions are having to be made in extremely testing times for all governments at present and of course realise that the sustainability of public service media is but one of a raft of issues the government is considering. I have been Chair of RTÉ for the last eight years and the financial instability caused by RTÉ’s funding model has dominated my time in the role. The fundamental issue is that public service media must be able to articulate and represent the social, cultural and economic realities of its citizens while defending democratic process when it is under challenge. RTÉ can only do that if it has assured and independent funding mechanisms in place with a foundation on which to deliver future media services and programming. While the Government decision to move to link the licence fee to how media is now consumed is welcome, how that is implemented and how quickly is more critical than ever. The RTÉ Board will be considering the implications of this Report and the Government response to it in due course”
As requested by Government, RTÉ will be engaging with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media around the upcoming national budgetary process, in relation to the specific interim funding recommended for RTÉ in the Future of Media Commission Report.
RTÉ will be giving more substantial consideration to the Future of Media Commission report and the outcome of this process in the coming days, and liaising further with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the relevant government departments.