Rabbitte seeking submissions on Public Service Broadcasting Charge

Tuesday 27 August 2013 22.01
Pat Rabbitte has published a consultation document on the new charge
Pat Rabbitte has published a consultation document on the new charge

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte is seeking submissions from interested parties on the introduction of a new Public Service Broadcasting Charge, which is to replace the television licence fee.

The minister said that replacing the current licensing system with the new charge will ensure an efficient and sustainable funding model for public service broadcasting.

It is possible to watch television on a range of devices, including phones, laptops and tablets.

It is proposed that the television licence be changed to a Public Service Broadcasting Charge, which would be applied to all eligible households, regardless of how the residents watch television.

Mr Rabbitte has published a consultation document on the new charge.

Interested parties including organisations, broadcasters and individuals have six weeks to make submissions on the issues involved, including who should pay the charge and how it will be collected.

The consultation document can be found on the department's website.

The new charge is expected to increase compliance, with large numbers of people evading payment of the existing licence fee.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Rabbitte said: "I don't believe that we have cave men in the country. I don't believe that there are people who don't watch television and don't access content on their iPad or iPhone.

"If you look at statutory impositions that are on Public Service Broadcasters in terms of a range of cultural, public affairs, it’s fair that everybody should make a contribution to paying for that."

Figures released this morning by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland show that 85.4% of people still watch television on a television set at home.

The study, carried out by Ipsos MRBI found that in 2012, 79% of 12- to 17-year-olds consume their audio visual content on a television and 92% of that content is consumed at home.

For those in the over-55 bracket, 96% of content is consumed on a television and 97% at home.

The BAI launched its strategy document for the next three years, saying relevant Irish content for Irish audiences must have a central place in any view of the future of broadcasting.

BAI Chairman Bob Collins said there is a discussion to be had on whether or not social media can be regulated and in what fashion.

Mr Collins said that there are anomalies in that the BAI regulates what broadcasters transmit on radio and television, but not on what they put on the internet.

The draft strategy sets out the BAI's objectives for the next three years and the manner in which it wants to engage with the public and the broadcasting sector more generally.

Interested individuals and organisations have until 22 October to respond to the statement and it can be viewed online at www.baifuture.ie

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