Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Ownership and control policy of broadcasting services in Ireland: reflections on recent proposals

Gorecki, Paul (2019): Ownership and control policy of broadcasting services in Ireland: reflections on recent proposals.

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Abstract

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is proposing: in assessing changes in the ownership and control of broadcasting licenses that the viability/sustainability of broadcasting services should be ranked second out of eight policy objectives; and, facilitating greater concentration of ownership of commercial radio stations through limited relaxation of the current ownership thresholds. There is insufficient justification for either proposal. The viability/sustainability objective is already addressed on an ex ante basis when a broadcaster is licensed. The ex ante evaluation should be strengthened by retaining (rather than abolishing) the existing BAI two-year time limit on a licensee being able to transfer ownership. If the viability/sustainability objective is, however, to be retained then it should be ranked much lower than second out of eight objectives. In terms of the BAI’s proposals for facilitating greater concentration of ownership of commercial radio stations, serious consideration should be given to retaining (not abolishing) the Five Additional Factors that go to the heart of plurality and diversity which are core, not peripheral, to the aims and objectives of the BAI. Furthermore the BAI should provide greater clarity how the tests to approve the transfer of a radio license are applied, through guidance and the publication of reasoned decisions.

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