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IRIS 2013-4:1/19

Ireland

Household-Based Public Broadcasting Charge Moves a Step Closer

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Damien McCallig

School of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway

On 26 February 2013 the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources confirmed that plans are being advanced to introduce a household-based public broadcasting charge. The new charge will replace the existing television licence fee, a device-based charge, legislated for under sections 140 to 148 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

The television licence revenue is currently used to fund public service broadcasting on RTE, TG4, and separately through independent broadcast productions, by way of the Sound and Vision Scheme, which is administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. A further proportion of the television licence revenue is used to fund a Broadcast Archiving Scheme which runs until 31 December 2014 (see IRIS 2012-4/29).

According to the Minister, convergence in technology means that public service broadcasting and content is available to everyone on a range of platforms and devices and is no longer dependent on the ownership of a television. Therefore, in order to secure future funding for public service broadcasting a device-independent charge on eligible households and businesses will be introduced. No date has been set for the introduction of the new charge and the Minister awaits the recommendations on the best way to collect the charge from an independent group, who are tasked with undertaking a value-for-money review.

References
Dáil Éireann Debate, Vol. 794, No. 1, 26 February 2013 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=16364