A reformed model of public funding will ensure increased supports for media organisations which play a crucial role in our communities, a Senator has said. Senator Seery Kearney was speaking as Government announced a major initiative to support Ireland’s media sector following the publication of the report of the Future of Media Commission. Senator Seery Kearney said: “Radio and newspaper outlets, as well as national outlets, are the cornerstone of our democratic system and do exemplary work in providing trustworthy information and entertainment to listeners, viewers and readers in our communities.
“Government has agreed in principle to accept 49 of the 50 recommendations in the report of the Future of Media Commission, which will chart the way to a resilient future for the sector by delivering a number of measures over the next decade. “After examining the options for generating additional funding, Government has decided to maintain but overhaul the current licence fee. “This minimises the risk of actual or perceived political interference in media independence and also reduces the burden on the Exchequer, when compared to a fully taxation-based funding model.
“I am pleased to see the Commission’s recommendation that a new Media Fund be established to support the media and journalism sector and and be open to broadcast, print and online media. This is in keeping with the Fine Gael submission to the Commission. “The Fund will allow for the provision of supports on a platform-neutral basis, and enable the targeting of supports for particular content, such as culture or news, or areas of particular need, for example at community or local level. Local Democracy Reporting, News Reporting, Courts Reporting, and Community Media will be supported under the fund.
“The report also recommends a number of other significant actions to help ensure greater equality, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in the media sector. “Government will also work to ensure that the increased investment will provide greater opportunities for the entire independent production sector, and the wider creative sector. “A Technical Group will be set up to examine options for the reform of the TV Licence and a report is expected to be brought to Government in November 2022,” Senator Seery Kearney said. Welcoming the publication of the report, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “A bedrock of our democracy, public service broadcasting has a remit to ensure that no one voice should dominate the debate, and that a plurality of views is always represented. “It strives – and often achieves – high standards of independence and balance. I believe this report will help to ensure that it has a future.”