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New TV charging scheme will provoke 'Big Brother' debate

LET'S hope the new charging scheme for the television is a little less clunky than its name suggests. What was always known as the TV licence is to be replaced by the 'Public Broadcasting Household Charge'. The new charge has become necessary because technology has left many people watching RTE, TG4 and other channels on their smart phone, iPad or laptop.

For a long time a TV set has not been required to actually watch television programmes, and increasingly people are using those alternative means of getting their favourite programmes at times that suit them. Like many other things in Ireland this development has been talked about for years and years.

Today we bring you news that the switch to the new snappily titled charge will not happen until late 2014. It is bound to be controversial – not least due to the means used to compile lists of homes which must pay irrespective of whether they ever watch Irish public broadcasting or not.

The new Property Tax database will be used as the main basis to identify those who must pay. Now that will provoke an interesting debate about 'Big Brother' and the rules on data protection.

Irish Independent