A critical examination of broadcasting in Ireland
and the new Broadcasting Bill


Section Eighteen of the Broadcasting Act obliges broadcasters to treat news and current affairs broadcast matter in an objective, impartial and fair manner.

In view of:

(a) the impact that broadcasting has on the public consciousness,
(b) the considerable lapse of time since the introduction of the legislation, and
(c) the far-reaching changes that have taken place in Irish society in that time,
it is now appropriate to ask to what extent has the law been observed? Or is it, in practice, a dead letter which can safely be ignored by the broadcaster? If it is the latter, can normal management practices be applied without imperilling the broadcaster's freedom to inquire into, and challenge, public issues?

This article examines the extent to which the Bill now before the Dáil addresses these issues.