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Rabbitte plans to introduce public broadcasting charge

Deputy Michael Moynihan said in response that the imposition of a new broadcasting charge must result in a reduction to the current TV licence fee.
Feb 26th 2013, 8:07 PM 21,519 255

COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER PAT Rabbitte plans to introduce a broadcasting charge for all homes – regardless of if they have a television on not.

Plans are already underway and a value-for-money report is due to be presented to the Minister in March.

Speaking in the Dáil today, he said in a response to a question from Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Deputy Michael Moynihan, that the programme for government commits to examining the role and collection of the TV licence fee.

He said that in light of “existing and projected convergences of technologies” they were looking at transforming the TV licence fee into a household-based public broadcasting charge, to be applied to all eligible households and applicable businesses regardless of the device used to access content or services.

Available to everyone

The Minister noted that publicly funded public broadcasting and content is now available to everyone on an ever-increasing range of platforms and devices and is not dependent on ownership of the device.

“My view [is] that the cost should be borne by the society as a whole,” he said.

However, the replacement of the existing funding system based on collection of TV licence fees “is a complicated process”, said Minister Rabbitte, with issues such as identifying the most appropriate collection method, exemptions, and enforcement mechanics needing to be examined.

His department is currently carrying out a value-for-money policy review conducted by an independently chaired group on the proposed policy and he expects to receive a report for his consideration at the end of March.

Rabbitte said he has been speaking with the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, who have made certain proposals to him and he is examining their case.

Deputy Moynihan said the imposition of a new broadcasting charge must result in a reduction to the current TV licence fee.

This proposed charge must not be a cover for the Government to raise more revenue. Any extra finance gathered from the charge must be redistributed and used to offset some of the cost of the licence fee for consumers.

Read: Pat Rabbitte says people should be prepared to pay for national broadcaster>

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Aoife Barry

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