Commission on public broadcasting
Sir, – The report that the Government is to establish a commission on public service broadcasting (“RTÉ to get extra €10m in State funding”, December 10th) is very welcome if it succeeds in moving beyond the financial difficulties of one particular organisation, RTÉ, and away from the intervention of politicians, no matter how well-intentioned, in that organisation’s executive responsibilities, such as the location of its studios.
To be effective, the commission’s brief must be to consider policy on public media, not simply broadcasting. This should be done on a clean-slate basis, as if such policy was being established for the first time, only then moving to look at the potential role(s) of existing media producer/publishers and regulators.
It is vital that the commission includes experience and expertise in 21st-century media, both international and local, but without any vested interest, actual or perceived, in its outcomes. Similarly, members with experience of social policy should not represent any particular groups in society, although such groups should of course be invited to submit their views.
And at least part of the commission’s work should consist of public hearings, both for the sake of transparency and as a means to bring the complexity of this essential debate to public attention. – Yours, etc,