People Before Profit have launched their new plan to radically reform RTÉ and Public Service Media. The party says that there needs to be investment in a comprehensive national public media service, incorporating RTÉ and other public service media e.g. print, local radio, production companies, and digital media.
The party said there needs to be serious funding made available to RTÉ and the wider public service broadcasting ecosystem. This would amount to €1 billion and be shared out by allocating €500 million to RTÉ and €500 million to other public service media companies per year. This would be provided on the basis of significant cultural and democratic reforms in RTÉ and at board level.
The party wants to abolish the TV licence fee and remove all commercial and advertising activity from RTÉ.
Speaking at the launch Paul Murphy TD said: “The pay, top ups, systemic and cultural scandal in RTÉ has rightly shocked and angered RTÉ workers and the public. It is clear that the rot has come from its commercial side. The slush fund was used to wine and dine advertising executives from private corporations. The sky-high salaries for presenters were justified on the basis of the ad revenue they brought in.
“Instead of allowing the government to use this crisis to run-down and partially privatise public sector broadcasting, we should reform RTÉ and public service broadcasting more generally in this country. We want the licence fee to be abolished and for all commercial deals and advertising to be discontinued in RTÉ.
“We want to replace the funding model for RTÉ so it is fully publicly funded. We would introduce funding of €1 billion, €500 million to RTÉ and €500 million to local public service media. This funding would be gathered via a Big Tech Tax on information and communication companies, and big tech. It would also be linked to substantial cultural and democratic reforms in RTÉ and especially at board level.”
Harry Browne, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at TU Dublin, who attended the press event with the party, said: “Ireland needs strong public service media. At last, this policy document points a way beyond the politics of scandal and outrage, towards a positive vision for RTÉ and other public oriented media. I hope it starts a meaningful debate on how we achieve that vision.”
The full policy can be viewed here.