Broadcasting Act 2009

114.

Principal objects and associated powers of RTÉ.

114.— (1) The objects of RTÉ are—

( a) to establish, maintain and operate a national television and sound broadcasting service which shall have the character of a public service, be a free-to-air service and be made available, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, to the whole community on the island of Ireland,

( b) to establish and maintain a website and teletext services in connection with the services of RTÉ under paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h) and (i),

( c) to establish and maintain orchestras, choirs and other cultural performing groups in connection with the services of RTÉ under paragraphs (a), (f), (g) and (h),

( d) to assist and co-operate with the relevant public bodies in preparation for, and execution of, the dissemination of relevant information to the public in the event of a major emergency,

( e) to establish and maintain archives and libraries containing materials relevant to the objects of RTÉ under this subsection,

( f) to establish, maintain and operate a television broadcasting service and a sound broadcasting service which shall have the character of a public service, which services shall be made available, in so far as RTÉ considers reasonably practicable, to Irish communities outside the island of Ireland,

( g) subject to the consent of the Minister, the Minister having consulted with the Authority, to establish, maintain and operate, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, community, local, or regional broadcasting services, which shall have the character of a public service, and be available free-to-air,

( h) subject to the consent of the Minister, the Minister having consulted with the Authority, to establish and maintain non-broadcast non-linear audio-visual media services, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, which shall have the character of a public broadcasting service (such consent not being required in respect of such services which are ancillary to a broadcasting service provided under paragraphs (a) , (d) , (f) and (g) ),

( i) to establish, maintain, and operate one or more national multiplexes,

( j) so far as it is reasonably practicable, to exploit such commercial opportunities as may arise in pursuit of the objects outlined in paragraphs (a) to (i) .

(2) In pursuit of the objects outlined in subsection (1) , RTÉ shall—

( a) be responsive to the interests and concerns of the whole community, be mindful of the need for understanding and peace within the whole island of Ireland, ensure that the programmes reflect the varied elements which make up the culture of the people of the whole island of Ireland, and have special regard for the elements which distinguish that culture and in particular for the Irish language,

( b) uphold the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution, especially those relating to rightful liberty of expression, and

( c) have regard to the need for the formation of public awareness and understanding of the values and traditions of countries other than the State, including in particular those of other Member States.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) , RTÉ shall ensure that the programme schedules of the broadcasting services referred to in that subsection—

( a) provide a comprehensive range of programmes in the Irish and English languages that reflect the cultural diversity of the whole island of Ireland and include programmes that entertain, inform and educate, provide coverage of sporting, religious and cultural activities and cater for the expectations of the community generally as well as members of the community with special or minority interests and which, in every case, respect human dignity,

( b) provide programmes of news and current affairs in the Irish and English languages, including programmes that provide coverage of proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Parliament, and

( c) facilitate or assist contemporary cultural expression and encourage or promote innovation and experimentation in broadcasting.

(4) The principal express powers of RTÉ in pursuance of the objects outlined in subsection (1) are—

( a) to establish, maintain and operate broadcasting stations and to acquire, install and operate apparatus for wireless telegraphy,

( b) subject to any regulations under the Act of 1926, which are for the time being in force, to provide for the distribution by means of wired broadcast relay stations of programmes broadcast by RTÉ and such other programmes as RTÉ may decide,

( c) to originate programmes and procure programmes from any source,

( d) to make contracts, agreements and arrangements incidental or conducive to the objects of RTÉ,

( e) to acquire and make use of copyrights, patents, licences, privileges and concessions,

( f) to collect news and information and to subscribe to news services and such other services as may be conducive to the objects of RTÉ,

( g) to subscribe to such international associations, and to such educational, musical and dramatic bodies and such other bodies promoting entertainment or culture, as may be conducive to the objects of RTÉ,

( h) to organise, provide and subsidise concerts, entertainments, education and other activities in connection with a broadcasting service or for any purpose incidental to it and, in relation to any such concert or entertainment, to provide or procure accommodation and, if desired, to make charges for admission,

( i) to prepare, publish and distribute, with or without charge, such magazines, books, papers and other printed matter as may seem to RTÉ to be conducive or incidental to its objects,

( j) to arrange with other broadcasting organisations or authorities for the distribution, receipt, exchange and relay of programmes (whether live or recorded),

( k) to compile, publish and distribute, with or without charge, recorded aural and visual material,

( l) to provide programmes of news and current affairs in the Irish and English languages, including programmes that provide coverage of proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Parliament,

( m) to facilitate or assist contemporary cultural expression and encourage or promote innovation and experimentation in broadcasting,

( n) to invest in, originate or procure films,

( o) to establish and maintain websites,

( p) to establish and maintain an electronic communications network subject to any enactment or rule of law,

( q) to establish and maintain an “electronic communications service” meaning a service which consists wholly or mainly of the conveyance of signals on electronic communications networks, subject to the provisions of any enactment or rule of law,

( r) to make available the broadcasting services of RTÉ in so far as reasonably practicable by any and all means of transmission, relaying or distribution, whether by way of broadcast (which includes terrestrial sound and television broadcasting networks, cable networks or satellite networks), or by any form of electronic means (which includes fixed terrestrial networks, mobile terrestrial networks, including the Internet and other electronic communications networks) and whether now known or hereinafter invented on a linear or non-linear basis, and

( s) to invest any of its funds in any manner in which a trustee is empowered by law to invest trust funds.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be read as preventing RTÉ from including in the programme schedules programmes made outside the State.

(6) Nothing in this section shall be read as preventing RTÉ from providing broadcasting services which are of a special interest to only certain members of the community and which are made available on a subscription or pay-per-view basis under its exploitation of commercial opportunities object.

(7) RTÉ shall have all such powers as are necessary or incidental to the attainment of the objects specified in subsection (1) , and which are not inconsistent with this Act.

(8) RTÉ shall endeavour to ensure that the programme schedules of the television broadcasting service and the sound broadcasting service established and maintained pursuant to subsection (1) (f) are, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, representative of the programme schedules of the national television and sound broadcasting services referred to in subsection (1) (a) and section 118 (1) (a) .