Minister Denis Naughten announces new financial measures to support broadcasting in Ireland and quality journalism

In Featured, News by Denis Naughten

Wednesday, 22nd February 2017

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD has today announced new financial measures that will support local radio and quality journalism across the country. The Minister made his announcement as he launched the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s strategy statement which sets out its planned work for the next three years (2017-2019).

Speaking at the launch Minister Denis Naughten said: “The media landscape is changing in ways difficult to predict with traditional media and broadcasting being particularly affected by developments in online technologies and platforms. In recognition of this I am working with my officials to amend the current Broadcasting Act of 2009 in ways that will support the production and availability of high quality Irish programming.”

“I intend to introduce a new funding scheme to offer bursaries to journalists working in local or community radio stations. This proposed scheme, which will be funded as part of the Broadcasting Fund, will recognise quality journalism produced at local level. The scheme may be of particular interest to young journalists starting off in their careers in local radio – as many often do.”

“I am also proposing to amend the levy provisions aimed at reducing the burden of the levy on all broadcasters. I want to provide more flexibility for the Authority in how it applies the levy to particular classes of broadcasters including community and hospital radio stations. All community radio stations will be exempt altogether from paying the levy.”

The Minister added: “Given the likelihood that some UK-based broadcasters will look to establish a base in Ireland following Brexit, I am proposing to amend the scope for the application of the levy so that it is properly future-proofed in this regard. The purpose of these proposed changes is to allow the BAI to ensure that each service it regulates can make a fair and proportionate contribution to the levy and to ensure the levy is not imposing an undue burden on the sector.”

“I am constrained in the level of detail that I can provide at this stage on the proposed levy changes as negotiations are ongoing with my Cabinet colleagues but I can confirm that I intend bringing the proposals before Cabinet shortly. The changes will then go before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications in the context of the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny process,” concluded Minister Naughten.