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.