Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (381, 382)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

381. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that there is enough media diversity here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12568/13]

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Michael Moynihan

Question:

382. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if media ownership has the potential to impact on media diversity here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12569/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 381 and 382 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, Section 25 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 requires that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) endeavour to ensure that the broadcasting services made available serve the diverse needs of the people of the island of Ireland, and that both programming and control of both commercial and community broadcasters is diverse. To that end, the BAI has a range of powers around the ownership of media as part of its licensing function and, indeed, published a new ownership and control policy for broadcast media in 2012.

I currently have no statutory responsibility for the print media sector. Legislation is in train to transfer responsibilities for the public value aspects of media mergers from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to my Department.

Arising from the critical role of the media in our democracy, and the potentially harmful effects of an over concentration of media ownership, this issue is a vitally important one. The Government remains committed to implementing a set of robust measures that allow for a transparent and objective assessment of the public good in media mergers cases, and to do so as quickly as possible.