Tuesday 2 February 2010

Ending broadcasting partition

RTÉ television channels and TG4 will be freely available throughout all of Northern Ireland from 2012, once the planned digital television changes come into force, (Dublin) Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan said yesterday.

Better late than never.

So, despite delays, which many believe to be politically motivated, the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in the area of Irish language broadcasting are going to finally be implemented.

The Irish Times mistakenly claims that "RTÉ and TG4 are available to approximately half of Northern Ireland’s population, although a commitment to make both more freely available was included in the St Andrews Agreement". In fact there is no such commitment in the St Andrews agreement, and even in the Good Friday Agreement the commitment is only in respect of TG4:

"… the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it:

• explore urgently with the relevant British authorities, and in co-operation with the Irish broadcasting authorities, the scope for achieving more widespread availability of Teilifis na Gaeilige in Northern Ireland;"

But if the broadcasting authorities are going to ensure that not just TG4 but also RTÉ 1 and 2 are available to everybody in Northern Ireland, then that is even better than the weak promise of the GFA. RTÉ should grow from being the state broadcaster of the south to the national broadcaster of Ireland. People north and south will be able to watch the same programmes, follow the same stories, and interact with each other through panel shows and feedback. It will contribute in a small way to removing some remaining barriers. Once digital TV arrives everyone in Ireland will have equal access to the same broadcasters, and the carefully erected partition of the media will be over. There is, needless to say, no question of, for example, Scottish TV being beamed to every household in Northern Ireland – so this represents another defeat for unionism, and another step towards reunification in Ireland.


bangordub said...

About Time!
It is ridiculous that BBC, ITV, C4 etc are freely available south of the border without a reciprocal arrangement.(preferably via freeview)
What is even more annoying is when I try to access RTE on the Web I am imformed that it is only available "On the Island of Ireland".

Dazzler said...

What about TV3, 3e and both setatanta sports channels.

Hopefully the first 6 channels in every house in the north be

1. RTE 1
2. RTE 2
2. TV 3
4. TG 4
5. Setanta Sports
6. 3e (formorly channel 6)

Nordie Northsider said...

All we need now is some more Irish language programmes on TG4 and we'll be flying.

paul said...

its a slow process lads, but as horseman says, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

picador said...

I'd like to be able to watch BBC Alba.

Coll Ciottach said...

Bangordub - the web problem is due to your ISP registering the IP address associated with your connection to the UK - This canewasily be addressed by requesting them to change it.

But there is larger issues at stake - will spectrum be offered on an all-Ireland basis? will this cause problems on the digital switchover on border areas.

bangordub said...

Many Thanks,
I'm onto it!