The Broadcasting Act 2009 provides for the continued corporate existence of RTÉ, TG4. They are each to be independent in pursuit of their objects subject to the requirements of the legislation. They must prepare strategic development plans dealing with their public service and commercial objectives.
There is the Board of each of RTÉ, andTG4 appointed by the government. Six members are appointed by the Minister, four more are appointed by the Minister having regard to the advice of the joint Oireachtas Committee on Broadcasting, one elected by staff members and the Director General who holds a position on the Board as of right.
Members must have a certain experience. The Chairperson of each Board is appointed by the government on the nomination of the Minister. The legislation provides for standard corporate governance arrangements.
Each company has standard provisions for the appointment of staff. There is a provision for superannuation arrangements. The Directors-General and Chairpersons are required to attend before Committees of the Oireachtas.
There are provisions for RTÉ and TG4 to borrow up to a set limit without consent. Borrowings above this limit require the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.
Each of RTÉ and TG4 i‘s obliged to maintain records and accounts and produce annual reports is provided for.
Codes and Audience Councils
Each of RTÉ and TG4 must prepare codes of conduct in respect of control on interests and ethical behaviour for Board members, staff, advisors, members of an advisory committee and certain contractors who provide services.
Each of TG4 and RTÉ must establish audience councils to represent the views in the interest of viewers and listeners. Each may establish advisory committees to advise them and assist them in their functions.
Charter and Commitments
RTÉ and TG4 are to prepare public service broadcasting charters dealing with activities they propose to undertake over a five year period in order to fulfil their public service objective. The charter is to be subject to approval by the Minister following consultations with the BAI.
Each of RTÉ and TG4 must prepare annual statements of commitments setting out intended outputs for the following year. It must be in accordance with statutory objects and public service broadcasting charters. They must report on the realisation or otherwise of commitments made under the statement.
The legislation provides circumstances in which TG4 or RTÉ, must obtain consent to carry certain new services or vary the number of television or radio channels provided by them. There are matters which the Ministers must take into account in deciding to grant consent or not.
RTÉ and TG4 may form and acquires subsidiaries, enter joint ventures and partnerships to perform their functions with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance. The Minister must first consult the BAI in relation to the sectoral impact of the proposal.
Revenue and Advertising
There is a duty on RTÉ and TG4 to act prudently and ensure that revenues match expenditure and that provision is made for capital requirements.
Requirements are placed on RTÉ and TG4 in relation to advertising and sponsorship. They may fix charges and conditions for advertising and provide different circumstances and additional special charges to be made in special cases. They may reject any advertisements presented for broadcast.
Subject to the provisions above, RTÉ or TG4 shall be subject to the approval of the Minister to fix the total daily time for broadcast advertisements and the maximum period given in an hour.
TG4 and RTÉ may exploit commercial opportunities on an arms’ length basis in order to achieve public service broadcasting objectives.TG4 and RTÉ must follow guidance and codes by the BAI when commissioning programmes from independent producers. The codes are subject to Ministerial approval.
Access to Archives and Copyright Works
There are provisions for maintenance by RTÉ and TG4 of archival items. Each shall make reasonable arrangements for public access to archives or libraries established under the legislation with or without charge. Charges are not to exceed the estimated cost of research and retrieval of items. Arrangements are not to encompass the copying or reuse of material contained in the archive or library.
Each may enter arrangements with public service broadcasters for reuse without charge by the public service broadcaster in pursuance of public service objectives and functions of items contained in the archives or libraries. Such charge is not to exceed the estimated cost.
Each shall prepare and submit to the Minister for approval following consultation with BAI, a scheme for the licensing of the use and exploitation by third parties of sound and television recordings over which the corporation holds copyright and related material. It shall provide separate terms and conditions of licensing for non-commercial, bona fide educational and research purposes, commercial purposes and other purposes.
The scheme shall be published on a website and carried out in accordance with its terms. It is to be laid by the Minister before the Oireachtas. There must be a provision for dispute resolution in respect of the operation of the scheme by independent arbitration or otherwise. The Compliance Committee shall report on compliance by the operation with the requirement.
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