Catholic Communications Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference submission to the econsultation process for the proposed Broadcasting Bill
26TH JANUARY 2007
Catholic Communications Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
Submission to the econsultation process for the proposed Broadcasting Bill
Section 109 3 (a) of the draft heads of the proposed Broadcasting Bill is to be welcomed as it endorses the presence of coverage of religious activities. However this coverage should not be confined to religious activities alone, for example, worship services. In Ireland’s pluralist society of 2007, RTÉ, as the national public service broadcaster, should be supporting religious discussion programmes in addition to worship programmes, for example, programmes which facilitate debate and discussion on spiritual, social, family, education and on moral matters of importance to the religious beliefs of the Irish people. Market research at a local broadcasting level indicates that there is a demand and a need for such content in programming and this should also be reflected at a national level. The centrality of religion to our culture and the contribution that religion makes to – and how it interfaces with – our changing society, at home and abroad, should be an ongoing theme in the subject matter considered by RTÉ programme-makers.
Similar to the role played by its Audience Council, RTÉ should establish a forum for the media representatives of religions in Ireland in order to facilitate comment and feedback on its programming content. Models for dialogue between media representatives of religions and broadcast networks have been adopted by public service and commercial broadcasters elsewhere.
For further information please contact the Director of the Catholic Communications Office Martin Long at 086 1727678