TD slams Fianna Fail claim that Facebook and social media are a ”threat to democracy”. Recommendations that revenue commissioners should collect licence fee is “a rerun of the property tax”
Communications, Climate Action and the Environment committee member, Brid Smith TD, has said she cannot support the entire list of recommendations produced by the committee's report on the future funding of public broadcasting.
Deputy Smith strongly objected to the rushed nature of the committees issuing of the report saying, “A draft report was to be discussed, yet we were then told that within two hours of that discussion the full report with its many recommendations would be released, this is rushed and seems dictated to by the fortunes of the present government”.
"Specifically the recommendation that the revenue commissioners should be the collection agent was deeply flawed and continued a process where tax collection has been subsumed by the collection of various fees for services. The property tax and now the TV licence fee were part of a process designed to get around non-payment of charges with no allowance for people to opt out if they didn’t receive the service or any recognition of their income", according to Deputy Smith.
The TD said she could support several of the other recommendations: including a retransmission fee for using RTE content and a removal of the cap currently paid by the state for free TV licences scheme for Oaps and others.
Deputy Smith said she was astonished by the attitude of Fianna Fail TDs Timmy Dooley and James Lawless who claimed that "Facebook is a threat to democracy" as it undermined public service broadcasting with “fake news" outlets.
Deputy Smith stated, "I am amazed that two rural TDs, whose constituency's post office network is already under threat would support a move to take more business form An Post and further undermine the network.”
Deputy Smith also said, “we seem content to ignore the fact that while consumption of media is changing, there are still huge profits generated by multinational corporations It is there that we should be seeking the funding for public broadcasting.”