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Independent radio stations praise calls for 'broadcasting charge'

The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland wants the new revenue to be split among other broadcasters, not just RTÉ.

THE ORGANISATION representing Ireland’s independent radio stations has welcomed proposals from communications minister Pat Rabbitte to replace the TV licence with a ‘household broadcasting charge’.

The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) have called on Rabbitte to use the introduction of the new charge to examine how the licence fee is distributed, urging him to comply with a promise made when he took office.

The coalition’s Programme for Government included an agreement to “review the funding of public and independent broadcasters to ensure a healthy broadcasting environment”.

“If the Minister is bound to examine the television licence fee then he should also be bound to the Programme’s commitment to undertake a full review of the funding of broadcasting in Ireland,” the IBI said in a statement.

“Indeed, the two are inextricably linked, and it is it is inconceivable that any change to the current TV licence system would not involve a review of how the funding is used.”

The group has suggested that allowing independent broadcasters to take a share of the funding may not necessarily result in a loss of revenue for RTÉ, which currently takes virtually all of the revenue from the TV licence.

Rabbitte had said the proposed new charge – which would apply to all households – would help to stop the evasion that exists under the current system, which costs the state some €25 million a year.

“It is conceivable that the revenue to be collected from the new broadcasting charge be apportioned to fund the operations of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, a move that would benefit every broadcaster in the country regardless of whether they are community, commercial or state-funded,” IBI said.

Rabbitte had explained this morning that the revamped household broadcasting charge was aimed at ensuring that those who accessed the services of broadcasters over the internet, and not through TVs and radios, paid for the service.

Read: Government considers household charge to replace TV licence fee

Poll: Should a broadcasting charge replace the TV licence?

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