Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022

Scheme for professional journalistic practices in local sound broadcasting and community broadcasting

51. The Principal Act is amended by the insertion of the following section after section 155:

“155A. (1) The Commission shall prepare and submit to the Minister for his or her approval a scheme or a number of schemes for the making of grants to local sound broadcasters and community broadcasters for the purposes of supporting and promoting good professional journalistic practices and standards in local sound broadcasting and community broadcasting and towards the cost of such ancillary measures as are necessary to support such a scheme or schemes.

(2) A scheme may provide for—

(a) the number of grants to be awarded in a year,

(b) the procedures for the making of applications for grants by local sound broadcasters and community broadcasters,

(c) the amount which may be awarded in respect of each grant, and

(d) the terms and conditions subject to which a grant may be awarded.

(3) A scheme may in particular require a local sound broadcaster or community broadcaster to whom a grant is awarded—

(a) to apply the grant to the costs of providing appropriate training or professional development for persons employed by, or providing services to, the broadcaster for the purposes referred to in subsection (1), and

(b) to co-fund the costs of that training or professional development.

(4) The Commission, in preparing a scheme—

(a) shall have regard to its duty set out in section 7(3)(d), and

(b) may have regard to the developmental needs of local sound broadcasters and community broadcasters.

(5) The Minister may direct the Commission—

(a) to provide in any scheme for practices and standards in a description of local sound broadcasting or community broadcasting specified by the Minister,

(b) to amend or revoke a scheme,

and the Commission shall comply with any such direction.

(6) If a scheme is approved of by the Minister, the Commission shall—

(a) as soon as practicable after the approval, make the scheme, and

(b) carry out the scheme in accordance with its terms.

(7) A scheme shall be laid by the Commission before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the scheme is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which the House sits after that scheme is laid before it, the scheme shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under it.

(8) Where a broadcaster—

(a) submits, in an application for a grant under a scheme, information that is incomplete or inaccurate in a material respect and on which the Commission relies in awarding a grant to the broadcaster, or

(b) having been awarded a grant, fails to comply with a condition subject to which the grant was awarded,

the broadcaster shall repay such amount of the grant as the Commission may demand in writing.

(9) If the broadcaster does not repay an amount demanded under subsection (8), the Commission may recover the amount due and owing from the broadcaster as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.”.