“Broadcasting remains one of the few sectors where unfair competition from a State-owned entity continues to distort the marketplace”, said IBI Chairman Scott Williams at the launch of a policy document about broadcasting funding.
Mr Williams said that Independent radio stations just as much public service stations as RTÉ, claiming that they are at the heart of communities all over Ireland providing platforms for public discourse, local and national politics, local news, sport and current affairs.
“Independent stations are public service broadcasters too, but the State subsidy of the license fee is going exclusively to one broadcaster. That is unfair,” he declared.
He criticised the funding RTÉ receives saying that when founded it had 100% of the market and so received 100% of the funds, but now with only a 30% market share the national broadcaster still gets all of the license fee revenue.
The IBI is urging the government to make the following changes:
- Formal recognition of the significant public service broadcasting contribution of independent commercial radio.
- A new fund to support and develop public service broadcasting on independent commercial radio.
- Amendment of Section 108 of the 2009 Broadcasting Act to define and constrain the commercial mandate of RTÉ.
- Funding of the BAI to come from the new Public Broadcasting Charge.