Government To Retain TV Licence Fee Despite Report’s Explicit Need To Phase It Out

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Professor Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Future of Media Commission, pictured with Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar Minister Catherine Martin at the launch of the Report of the Future of Media Commission in Dublin Castle today 12 July 2022.

Despite recommendations from the Future of Media Commission to phase out the television licence by 2024, it is here to stay at the behest of government.

The commission’s 50 recommendations, says funding for Public Service Media should shift from the current system to one “based entirely on general Exchequer funds“.

The Government says it will adopt 49 recommendations “in principle“, while proposing “an alternative approach to the commission’s recommendation on a new funding model“.

The Government conceded the current PMS funding model is “out of step with changing trends in media consumption” and “doesn’t realise the full funding needs of the sector“.

However, it adds the TV licence will remain in order to “maintain a direct link between media and the public they serve, and to minimise the risk of actual or perceived political interference in media independence“.

The reform of the TV licence will aim to align with changing viewing habits, tackle evasion, streamline the collection and payment regime, and thereby provide a more sustainable level of funding for the sector.”

A new Media Fund was also announced, supporting schemes for print, online and broadcast media at local, regional and national level.

On the back of recommendations from the commission, the Government has also pledged to “drive digital transformation” across the media sector, increase transparency and oversight of PSM, and increase diversity within and access to the industry.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the commission “has established that high-quality, independent journalism and a pluralistic media is vital to a healthy democracy and social cohesion“.

The Government is determined to do everything we can to ensure that Ireland’s media continues to deliver high quality public service content at local, regional and national levels.

The Future of Media Commission has charted a clear way forward, and the Government has now agreed in principle to adopt and implement the vast majority of the Commission’s recommendations,” he added.