The Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media met today (24 November 2022) to discuss future business model plans and a long-term vision for the media sector and FuJo’s Dawn Wheatley was invited to provide expert Testimony. The session is a part of a series of meetings with media providers, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders to discuss long-term vision and business plans for the media sector. Apart from the FuJo representative, the Committee heard from a wide range of stakeholders from radio, print media and journalism – on their views and recommendations as to how print, media and journalism sectors can be supported, protected and maintained into the next decade.
In her testimony Dawn highlighted the importance of the role of public service broadcasting as it is not a realistic option to expect the majority of audiences to pay for online news subscriptions. While noting the importance of state support she urged the Committee to ensure that the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission are implemented as soon as possible, particularly the local democracy reporting scheme, the court reporting scheme, and the news reporting schemes.
Dawn also noted the importance of media transparency and public service obligations around transparency as a condition of state support. For Instance, journalism, if considered as a public service, would have public service obligations in the form of transparency regarding newsroom processes and ownership. While stressing the need for additional institutional information to be collated and hosted by the organisations themselves she highlighted the importance of resources such as Media Ownership Database developed by colleagues in DCU as an invaluable external resource.
In conclusion, Dawn reiterated to the Committee that Irish media is at a critical juncture for news funding with the opportunity to enhance the landscape for both journalism producers and audiences. Therefore it is crucial that any news organisation drawing on any new state media supports should adhere to a code of conduct regarding transparency.
Her full opening statement can be found here.