Sunday 18 August 2019

'Seriously deficient' - RTÉ criticised over 1pc Irish language content

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Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

The amount of programming broadcast in Irish by RTÉ has been described as "seriously deficient" by the State's official languages commissioner.

An investigation by the commissioner's office found that less than 1pc of programmes broadcast on RTÉ television are classified as Irish language programmes, "despite a statutory obligation to broadcast a comprehensive range of programmes in the language".

Commissioner Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: "This is the first time compliance with the Broadcasting Act, in so far as it relates to Irish language broadcasting, has been formally investigated.

"The results of the investigation reveal that only 0.7pc of programmes broadcast on RTÉ television are classified as Irish language programmes. Or, in other words, approximately 99pc of programmes are in English only."

The annual report of the language commissioner for 2018 also said that some of the genres RTÉ is obliged to cover in Irish by the Broadcasting Act, were either "not catered for at all by RTÉ" or "only catered for in a very limited fashion".

Meanwhile, the report said that in total, 634 complaints were made last year from the public, with most relating to the lack of Irish on websites, application forms, signage and stationary.

The vast majority were resolved through the informal resolution mechanism operated by the office.

In its response, a statement from RTÉ said: "While the report finds RTÉ to be in breach of its obligations under the Broadcasting Act 2009 regarding the provision of Irish language programming on its linear television channels, it also finds that RTÉ is fulfilling its obligations regarding television news programmes and its radio output as a whole."

"Innovative developments made by RTÉ to considerably increase Irish language material available online, on social media, in digital radio and in podcasting are not within the scope of this report," it added.

Irish Independent

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