Broadcasting Act 2009

103.

Ministerial consent for new services and variations in channels.

103.— (1) A corporation may, with the consent of the Minister, pursue the objects in paragraphs (g) and (h) of section 114(1) or paragraphs (g) and (h) of section 118(1) , as the case may be.

(2) A corporation may, with the consent of the Minister, vary the number of television or sound broadcasting channels it operates.

(3) A corporation may, with the consent of the Minister, undertake ancillary services.

(4) Where the Minister proposes to give his or her consent under this section, the Minister shall—

( a) consult with the corporation concerned and such other persons as he or she considers appropriate,

( b) consult with the Authority as to the sectoral impact of a proposal under this section,

( c) consider the public value of such proposal, and

( d) publish in such manner as he or she considers appropriate a statement outlining the consultations that have been carried out under paragraphs (a) and (b) and indicate a place at which any document given to the Minister by a person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) in the course of consultations under those paragraphs may be inspected.

(5) A person referred to in paragraphs (a) or (b) of subsection (4) may, on giving a document to the Minister for the purposes of subsection (4) , request the Minister to omit from documents made available for public inspection under paragraph (d) of subsection (4) a document or part of a document which the person regards as commercially sensitive.

(6) The Minister may, if satisfied that the information contained in a document or part of a document is commercially sensitive and that its disclosure is not necessary for the purposes of public understanding of a decision made under subsection (4) , omit the document or part of a document from the documents made available for public inspection under paragraph (d) of subsection (4) .

(7) For the purposes of this section, information is commercially sensitive if its disclosure could reasonably be expected to—

( a) materially prejudice the commercial interests of the person who provided that information to the Minister, or of a group or class of persons to which that person belongs, or

( b) prejudice the competitive position of a person in the conduct of the person’s business.

(8) The Minister, in deciding on the public value of a proposal under this section shall consider the following matters—

( a) the importance of the proposal in respect of the pursuance of the public service objects of the corporation,

( b) the compatibility of the proposal with the Council Directive and recommendations of the Council of Europe in respect of public service broadcasting,

( c) the costs and revenues associated with the proposal and any impact on existing public service provision,

( d) the extent to which the proposal contributes to meeting the democratic, cultural, linguistic, educational, and social needs of Irish society, of individual groups within Irish society, and of Irish communities outside of the island of Ireland,

( e) the extent to which the proposed service will be accessible by the public,

( f) the extent to which the proposed service will reach under-served audiences,

( g) the contribution of the proposed service or activity to raising the level of familiarity of the general public, or of individual groups within Irish society, with new forms of services and technologies,

( h) the contribution of the proposal to media plurality, and

( i) such matters as the Minister may decide.

(9) The Minister may attach to any consent granted under this section such particular terms or conditions as he or she considers appropriate in the circumstances.

(10) The requirements of subsection (2) shall not apply to the establishment by a corporation of a television or sound broadcasting channel for a period of not more than 30 days (whether consecutive days or otherwise) in any period of 12 months.

(11) In this section “ancillary services” means the provision by a corporation of services, which—

( a) are ancillary to the public service objects of the corporation,

( b) the corporation has not engaged in a significant manner in the previous 5 years,

( c) require expenditure by the corporation in excess of €5 million in each year, and

( d) for which the corporation proposes to use funding received by the corporation under section 123 ,

but does not include the provision by a corporation of a service in pursuance of paragraphs (d) , (f) and (i) of section 114 (1) and paragraphs (d) and (f) of section 118 (1) .