FF sets out broadcasting proposals


FIANNA FÁIL has published a series of legislative proposals which it believes could help to restore confidence in public service broadcasting.

The party’s Broadcasting Amendment Bill 2011, announced yesterday, proposes that, to protect their interests, individuals participating in prerecorded interviews be given access to a full copy of the recording after it is broadcast which they would be entitled to publish.

The Bill also calls for the development of a redress mechanism along the lines of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for individuals who feel they have been defamed by material broadcast on radio or television but do not wish to face the costs or stresses of going to court.

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív, who announced the proposals, said he hoped the Bill would restore confidence in public service broadcasting following recent high-profile controversies.

RTÉ has received considerable criticism in the last 12 months for running the Mission to Prey television programme which libelled Fr Kevin Reynolds. It was also criticised over the broadcast of a tweet during a presidential debate that put pressure on the then front-runner Seán Gallagher.

“In an age of ‘citizen journalism’ it moves to restore some influence to the citizen in the balance of power with national broadcasters,” Mr Ó Cuív said.

The Bill also says public service broadcasters should be obliged to set out how they intend to spend the money allocated to them by the State.

The spending plans would initially be inspected by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and would require the approval of the Minister for Communications.

The Bill also proposes that 8 per cent of the funds collected annually from the licence fee be allocated to commercial regional radio stations in recognition of the service they provide.

“It would ensure that this core service would be available to the public and that local radio can reach out into the furthest corners,” he said.

The Bill will be moved in the Dáil on Tuesday.