Under the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is the contractor for broadcasting licences for both television and radio stations in Ireland.
In the context of that role and its obligation under the same Act to promote diversity and plurality in broadcasting services and the wider media landscape, the authority operates an ownership and control policy. This policy sets out how the authority will consider applications for broadcasting licences and variations to existing licence conditions in light of its obligations.
The authority is independent in the issuing of broadcasting licences and I, as Minister, have no function in this matter or in respect of the development, operation or review of the authority's ownership and control policy. I am aware that the authority has announced its intention to review this policy and that it has commenced a targeted consultation with relevant stakeholders. Dublin City University has been engaged by the authority to co-ordinate the consultation, in which my Department will participate.
The authority has indicated that this consultation will be completed by mid-July. Following this, the authority is expected to consider if any revisions to the current policy are warranted. If revisions are considered necessary, the authority intends that a revised draft policy will be the subject of a public consultation later in the year.
The authority has also commenced the drafting of a new plurality policy, which will be the subject of a targeted and public consultation later this year.
Both the authority's ownership and control policy and its proposed plurality policy are separate to the authority's role in the media mergers regime, as provided for in the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. In this respect, it is worth pointing out that the authority will be producing the second ownership and control report for the period 2015 to 2017 later this year.
This report describes the ownership and control arrangements for undertakings carrying on a media business in the State, outlines the changes to the ownership and control arrangement over the previous three years and analyses the effects of such changes on the plurality of the media in the State.