STATE funding of RTE must be "at arm's length" to ward off the threat of government interference, the chief executive of rival commercial broadcaster TV3 has said.
David McRedmond said the level of state control of television in Ireland is "excessive and anti-democratic" and has repeated calls for the national broadcaster to be removed from the commercial market.
Mr McRedmond, speaking at the second National Symposium on local newspapers in Dublin, said that in the UK the TV licence fee was revised every five years, compared to annually in Ireland. This protects against claims of government interference, said Mr McRedmond.
"I defend the right of the State to support RTE, it (the state subvention) is part of the way we've developed our democracy, but the issue I have is balance."
Mr McRedmond told delegates at the symposium, organised by the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) and the Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland (RNPAI), that state funding must be at arm's length and others allowed to compete.
Keynote speaker Mark Little, the founder and CEO of Storyful, the social news agency, said there was "no magic bullet" to reverse the decline in newspaper circulation and ad revenues. But he encouraged local newspaper editors to collaborate with their communities and form partnerships with professionals and "motivated amateurs".