The Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, has announced the publication of the new Broadcasting Bill. This provides for a single content regulator to be known as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
The BAI will assume the roles currently held by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, as well as a range of new functions primarily relating to the oversight of public service broadcasting.
The Bill also introduces a number of proposals aimed, the Minister says, at protecting the interests of viewers and listeners. This includes a 'right of reply' mechanism whereby people who feel their reputations have been damaged may have this corrected in a further broadcast.
There is also provision for the establishment by RTÉ and TG4 of audience councils to represent the views of listeners and viewers.
The Bill also sets up the framework for two new public service broadcasters - an Irish Film Channel and Oireachtas channel. The Minister says a number of appointments to the boards of the new Authority, RTÉ and TG4 will be made following the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee dealing with broadcasting matters.