'Radical change is unavoidable' - RTÉ chair says change to TV licence fee needed

'Radical change is unavoidable' - RTÉ chair says change to TV licence fee needed
chair of the RTE board Moya Doherty

The chair of the board of RTÉ has hit out at the government for what she called a "broken" TV license fee system.

Moya Doherty also said that this is a defining time for the public service broadcaster after it was announced that 200 jobs are to be lost and that some of their star presenters will have to take pay cuts.

The broadcaster's Limerick studio is to close, the RTÉ Guide will be put up for sale and their digital radio studios will shut down.

"Media organisations are undergoing an unprecedented wave of disruption the world over," Ms Doherty said.

"RTÉ is part of this global pattern. Radical change is unavoidable.

The RTÉ Board believes the duty of RTÉ is to provide the best possible public service to all our audiences, at all times. Building on work to date, this plan can achieve this.

However, she said that reforming the TV license is part of this.

"Our TV licence fee system is broken. It has not been fit for purpose for a long time," she said.

"In order to support this process of transformation that we are embarking on and to achieve financial stability, the TV licence must be reformed. This is the responsibility of government alone."

Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil's communications spokesman, also blamed the government for the financial woes at the broadcaster.

"I think it's shocking that RTÉ is faced with this funding crisis and the fact that 200 jobs are being cut to our public service broadcaster is a really worrying development," he said.

"It comes at the back of the government failing to address the collection issue of the license fee with an evasion rate of 12% and up to €50m being lost per year," Mr Chambers added.

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