There were to be nine members of the Authority. Five are appointed by the government. At least four are to be men and four are to be women.
Persons to be appointed must have experience in a number of named areas relevant to broadcasting, trade union affairs, business or commercial affairs, disability, Irish languages, arts, music, sport and culture, science, legal and regulatory affairs, social, educational and community affairs.
There are standard provisions in respect of corporate governance of the Authority staff, superannuation, committees etc.
A chief executive is to be appointed, who he is responsible to the Public Accounts Committee. The chief executive and chairpersons of the Authority and statutory committees are responsible to certain other statutory committees.
There is provision for the Contract Awards Committee of eight, four to be appointed by the Government and four to be appointed by the Authority, being two of the members, and two of the members of staff, of the Authority.
The Authority meets its expenses by means of a levy payable by public service broadcasters and each broadcasting contractor. A levy order is made specifying the levy due, the prime method of calculation, records, exemptions, deferrals, refunds etc. The levy is recoverable as simple contract debt.
It may meet certain expenses of the Authority when it is performing functions of an exceptional nature.
The Authority and its committees are to be independent in the performance of their functions. They are to endeavour to ensure that
- the number and categories of broadcasting services made available in the State, best serve the needs of the people of the island of Ireland bearing in mind their languages, traditions, religious, ethical and cultural diversity,
- that democratic values enshrined in the Constitution, including, in particular, liberty of expression, are upheld,
- the provision of open and pluralistic broadcasting services.
- They shall seek to stimulate the provision of high quality, diverse and innovative programming by the commercial, community and public service broadcasters,
- facilitate public service broadcasters in the fulfilment of public service objectives,
- promote diversity in control and more influential commercial and community broadcasting services,
- provide a regulatory environment that will sustain independent and impartial journalism,
- protect the interests of children taking account of the vulnerability and through undue commercial exploitation,
- facilitate developing broadcasting sector that is responsible to audience needs.
The principal functions are
- preparing a strategy for the provision of broadcasting services in the State additional to those provided by RTE and TG4,
- preparing broadcasting codes,
- preparing a scheme for a right of reply,
- direct the Contract Awards Committee in relation to broadcasting services,
- prepare rules and enter contracts in respect of programme guides,
- determine certain disputes.
It also has a range of ancillary functions.
The Authority is to draw up and prepare strategy statements reflecting their statutory functions. They have to be adopted every third year.
Relation with Minister
The Minister may issue policy communications to the Authority as he considers appropriate to be followed by the Authority in the performance of its functions.
The Minister must first publish a draft of the communications and give reasons. It must specify a period within which representations may be made by interested parties in relation to the proposal.
The Authority is to prepare annual reports and submit them to the Minister.
News and Basic Obligations
Each broadcaster will ensure that all news broadcast is reported, presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views, the broadcast treatment of current affairs, is fair to all interests concerned and presented in an objective and impartial manner without expression of views, except where it would prove impracticable in relation to a single broadcast, two broadcasts together may be considered who can’t fulfil this duty and if they are transmitted within a reasonable period of each other.
In the case of sound broadcasters, a minimum of 20% of broadcasting time, service is for more than 12 hours a day, two hours of broadcasting between 07.00 a.m. and p.m. is to be devoted to the broadcasting of news and current affairs unless derogation is granted.
A broadcaster shall ensure that anything which may reasonably be regarded as causing harm or offence or is likely to promote or incite crime or tending to undermine the authority of the State, is not broadcast. The privacy of individuals is to be respected. The derogation from the obligation in respect of news broadcasting may be granted if the Authority is satisfied that the authorisation would be beneficial to the listeners concerned. Record and keep records of all broadcasts made for a period specified by the Compliance Committee.
The total times for broadcasting advertisements in the sound broadcasting service must not exceed 15% of the total broadcasting time. The maximum time to be given to advertisements in an hour is 10 minutes.
There shall not be advertisements that are directed towards the end of or relate to an industrial dispute. It shall not broadcast an advertisement that addresses the merits of adhering to any religious faith, belief or political organisation. There is an exception for party political broadcasts.
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