Future Media Commission Established

The government have established the Future of Media Commission. Brian MacCraith had previously been announced as the chair of the commission. He will be joined by Sinéad Burke, Alan Rusbridger, Lynette Fay, Nuala O'Connor, Gillian Doyle, Mark Little, Stephen McNamara and Finola Doyle-O'Neill. Two further proposed members have yet to confirm their participation with the Commission. The commission will identify the experience being delivered by public service broadcaster and consider the extend to which the current models of delivery are appropriate for the next 10 years.

Welcoming the establishment of the Commission, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said:

A strong, independent media structure is critical for Ireland’s cultural, sporting, creative and political life.  People rely on newspapers, tv, radio and online platforms to find out about local and national issues, to inform them about current affairs, to showcase our culture, to reach out to our diaspora, and to bring the nation together at times of national celebration and reflection. 

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD also welcomed the establishment of the Commission, saying: 

The media landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Traditional broadcasters and newspapers are facing new and increased pressures. The Government is determined to chart the way forward so that we can continue to have an energetic public service broadcaster that informs, entertains and reflects us as a people, and delivers value for money. 


Members of the Future of Media Commission

Chair of the Commission, Professor Brian MacCraith, former President of Dublin City University

Sinéad Burke, Director of Tilting the Lens, writer and academic active in social media, and member of the Council of State, former member of the RTÉ Audience Council

Alan Rusbridger, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, and former Editor-in-Chief of Guardian News and Media

Lynette Fay, freelance broadcaster (broadcasting as Gaeilge and in English on BBC Radio Ulster) with an academic background in applied communications

Nuala O’Connor, co-founder of South Wind Blows, writer and documentary filmmaker in the areas of music and the Arts

Gillian Doyle, Professor of Media Economics (Theatre, Film and Television Studies), University of Glasgow

Mark Little, CEO and co-Founder of Kinzen. Founder of social news agency, Storyful. Former RTÉ presenter and reporter.

Stephen McNamara, Director of Communications, Irish Rugby Football Union

Dr Finola Doyle-O’Neill, Broadcast Historian, University College Cork.

Terms of Reference

Well-functioning media systems, and in particular public service broadcasting, deliver four important public services to Irish society:

  • To inform, educate and entertain the Irish public with regard to matters of Irish culture, identity, sport, language and other matters inherent to Ireland and the Irish people;
  • To ensure that the public has access to high quality, impartial, independent journalism, reporting on matters of local, regional, national, European and international importance in a balanced way and which contributes to democratic discourse;
  • To bring the nation and diaspora together at moments of great national importance;
  • To ensure that creative Irish talent gets the opportunity to have their work reach audiences in Ireland and, where possible, further afield.

Since the foundation of the State, these aims have been, and continue to be, delivered by a wide number of media organisations including RTE and TG4, as the public service broadcasters, independent broadcasters, producers and print media, at local, regional and national level. More recently, online media is playing an increasingly important role. The Sound and Vision Scheme, which amounts to 7% of net TV licence revenue, has supported content with public service value by all broadcasters in conjunction with the independent production sector but is limited by statute to broadcasting sector.


The goals of the independent Commission are to:

  • Identify what the Irish experience has been in delivering the above aims through public service broadcasters, other broadcasters, print and online media at a local, regional and national level and the challenges created for these media by new global platforms and changing audience preferences in relation to how content is delivered;
  • Consider the extent to which the current models of delivery are the appropriate ones the next 10 years;
  • Review best practice in other comparable jurisdictions, particularly across the European Economic Area in terms of providing future-proofed models for meeting the above four public services in light of changing audience expectations, in particular the preferences and behaviours of younger audiences.

Arising from that work, the Commission is tasked with:

  • proposing how those public service aims should be delivered in Ireland over the next ten years;
  • how this should contribute to supporting Ireland’s cultural and creative sectors;
  • how this work can be funded in a way that is sustainable, gives greater security of funding, ensures independent editorial oversight and delivers value for money to the public;
  • making recommendations on RTE’s role, financing and structure within this framework;
  • How this is overseen and regulated, having regard to our EU obligations including the requirements of the revised Audio-visual Media Services Directive.