Sligo-Leitrim Fianna Fáil Senator Marc MacSharry has welcomed legislation published by his party colleague Éamon Ó Cuív which would strengthen and protect local broadcasters and recognise the public service contribution they make.
Senator MacSharry said: “This legislation will ensure there is a greater recognition of local independent broadcasters and the public service role they fulfil in the communities across the country. A key provision of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2012 would see the television licence fee reduced by 15% and open up access to funding for local broadcasters for the first time.
“I want to commend Deputy Ó Cuív for the work he has done to bring this legislation forward. Fianna Fáil is committed to public service broadcasting in this country and we are seeking to ensure there is greater sustainability in the sector. This bill will update the definition of Public Service Broadcasting and bring new creativity to how public funds are spent on broadcasting.
“Another major feature of the Bill is recognising the critical role that local radio plays in Public Service Broadcasting. In many areas of the country, citizens’ news and current affairs comes from their local station, rather than any national broadcasters. The Bill provides that 8% of state funding will be made available for commercial local radio stations for the production of public service material.
“I know from my own work in the constituency that local broadcasters play an essential role in highlighting issues of concern in the community, promoting local sporting events and protecting our local heritage – issues that would often not draw the attention of national broadcasters. This is a great public service and it should be recognised in that way. I look forward to seeing the legislation brought before the Dáil as soon as possible.”