5.3.7 Mass media
The Broadcasting Act 2009 extends the public remit of the national broadcasting stations to incorporate the broadcasting of public service programming to Irish communities in the UK and the use of new web-based technologies. The publicly funded broadcasting services operate at arm's length from the government of the day. They are autonomous in relation to day-to-day programming and editorial decisions. The over-riding objective of Irish broadcasting policy is to seek to maintain access for the people of Ireland to high quality Irish radio and television services. The mandate of the publicly funded broadcasters, defined in legislation, sets out in broad terms the nature of the service to be delivered and explicitly requires RTÉ to reflect the cultural diversity of the island of Ireland in its programming. The Public Service Broadcasting Charter specifically includes "arts" among the key genres of programming that RTÉ is expected to include in its schedules (see also chapter 4.2.6).
In the case of the independent broadcasting sector there are no legislative provisions relating to the makeup of programme schedules other than in the case of news and current affairs. Licences to broadcastin the independent sector are awarded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Proposed programme schedules are amongst the issues considered by the Authority when assessing applications for licences and are then reflected in a contract where a licence is awarded.
The provisions of the EU Television without Frontiers Directive apply to both public and private television services in Ireland. The Directive provides that, where practicable:
These quotas apply after time devoted to news, sport and current affairs.
On the national level, independent broadcasters are required by statute to devote a minimum of 20% of broadcasting time to news and current affairs. There are no specific quotas in the case of public broadcasters. Instead RTÉ's statutory mandate requires it to deliver a comprehensive programme schedule.
RTÉ is required by statute to spend a certain minimum amount of EUR independent productions.