Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ceisteanna (239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

251 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has reviewed the findings of the advisory group on media mergers, published in June 2008; and if he intends to seek an update of the analysis within that review in the context of further media consolidation which has taken place in the period since the report was completed. [15678/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

257 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his view on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ statement to the Advisory Group on Media Mergers 2008 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15689/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 251 and 257 together.

The Advisory Group on Media Mergers, which was established in 2008, was requested to review the current legislative framework relating to the public interest aspects of media mergers in Ireland. The Group's Report, which was published in 2009, and the eleven recommendations contained therein were considered in the context of a wider review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002. I will be seeking Government approval shortly for legislation arising, inter alia, from this review.

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

252 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the current structure of media ownership here; and his further views on whether there is sufficient diversity of ownership in the local newspaper market. [15679/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

253 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he is satisfied with the current structure of media ownership; and his views on whether there is sufficient diversity of ownership in the national newspaper market. [15681/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

254 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the current structure of media ownership; and his further views on whether there is sufficient diversity of ownership in the national commercial radio market. [15683/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 252 to 254, inclusive, together.

Broadcasting media organisations, including undertakings involved in commercial radio, are subject to the licensing requirements of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, including in relation to issues such as diversity and plurality of ownership. Policy responsibility in this area lies with my colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and I have no direct function in the matter.

Mergers between media undertakings, whether or not such undertakings are involved in print or broadcast media, are subject to regulatory control. The Competition Act 2002 requires that media mergers be notified to the Competition Authority (which is independent in the exercising of its statutory functions) to determine if the merger will result in a significant lessening of competition. The Competition Act also requires media mergers to be notified to me as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If the Competition Authority decides that there will be a significant lessening of competition, then the merger cannot go ahead. If there is no significant lessening of competition, the Act requires that I, as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, in deciding whether or not to approve such mergers, or to approve them subject to conditions, have to have regard to certain relevant criteria, including the impact of the merger on the extent to which ownership or control of media businesses in the State is spread amongst individuals and other undertakings.

The Advisory Group on Media Mergers, which was established in 2008, was requested to review the current legislative framework relating to the public interest aspects of media mergers in Ireland. The Group's Report, which was published in 2009, and the eleven recommendations contained therein were considered in the context of a wider review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002. I will be seeking Government approval shortly for legislation arising, inter alia, from this review.

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

255 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to ensure adequate diversity of ownership in the emerging online media sector. [15685/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Broadcasting legislation regulates aspects of the ownership of broadcasting entities through the imposition of licensing requirements. Competition legislation imposes a public interest consideration in instances of mergers of media undertakings: however, these latter regulatory controls do not apply to media businesses involved in the provision of audio-visual material over the Internet.

The Advisory Group on Media Mergers, which was established in 2008, was requested to review the current legislative framework relating to the public interest aspects of media mergers in Ireland. The Group's Report, which was published in 2009, and the eleven recommendations contained therein were considered in the context of a wider review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002. Included in these recommendations was one recommending the removal of the exemption of undertakings involved in the provision of audio-visual material over the Internet from the media merger provisions of competition law.

I will be seeking Government approval shortly for legislation arising, inter alia, from this review, including the possibility of extending the public interest criteria for media mergers to certain aspects of the operations of undertakings involved in the provision of audio-visual material over the Internet as recommended by the Advisory Group on Media Mergers.

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

256 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has been briefed on reports that a former director of the largest commercial media group here sought to intervene directly in the way one of that group’s newspapers reported on the Moriarty tribunal and sought to have a journalist removed from the story; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15687/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

258 Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the appropriateness of the owners of media outlets seeking to influence the editorial output of those media outlets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15691/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 256 and 258 together.

The editorial strategies of media organisations and the manner in which they carry out such strategies are matters for the organisations themselves and I have no direct function in relation to such matters.

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 251.
Question No. 258 answered with Question No. 256.