PCs may need TV licences under new Broadcasting Bill

7 Sep 2006

The definition of a television set is likely to be expanded to include laptops, PCs and possibly even mobile phones under a new Broadcasting Bill published by the Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey TD yesterday.

The Bill was published for public consultation under the eConsultation initiative and is designed to update and modernise the legislative framework for broadcasting in Ireland.

A statement from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources said: “The growth in new and innovative technologies in the broadcast of television services means that this Bill will re-examine the definition of a television set.”

Only one television licence will still be required per household so consumers who watch TV using a laptop or PC will not have to fork out if they have an existing TV licence.

However, it may be difficult to prove that somebody uses a computer to watch TV if they don’t have a TV set.

The Bill will also establish a single content regulator for all commercial, community and public service broadcasters in Ireland, to be known as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and will also establish a right of reply mechanism for people whose reputations have been damaged by an assertion of incorrect facts in a broadcast.

“This Bill is the result of several years of careful consideration, through mechanisms such as the Forum on Broadcasting, the Radio Licensing Review and dialogue with the European Commission. I am satisfied that this Bill ensures that Ireland will have an up to date and modern legislative framework on broadcasting but I urge all those interested parties to make their views on the Bill over the coming weeks,” said Minister Dempsey.

You can view the Minister’s proposals and get involved in the consultation process on the new Broadcasting Bill by visiting the www.econsultation.ie website.

By Niall Byrne