I wrote recently about some of the reasons I thought that public service broadcasting remained relevant after Netflix and other commercial streaming services. At the end I suggested that we, the public for whom all this broadcasting was being done, should start our own discussion on how to solve the problems which have, in the last week alone, seen RTE issue a plan to slash services, staff and costs.
To: The Information Commissioner17 October 2011APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF REFUSAL BY RTÉ TO REFUSE A REQUEST MADE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACTS 1997 AND 2003 (THE ACTS)RTÉ ref. : FOI 2011/051My client: Simon McGarrDear Commissioner,I act for Simon McGarr, the operator of a website which provides niche commentary and analysis of Irish news and events (tuppenceworth. ie).
My appeal of the decision to turn down my FOI request for documents relating to RTE's offer to licence video to members of the National Newspapers of Ireland has now been decided. As you can see below, the original decision has been upheld by RTE's internal appeal process. It is now open to me to send a final appeal on to the Office of the Information Commissioner.
As promised before I broke Tuppenceworth, here is a pdf of the letter from RTE refusing my FOI request for documents re their deal with the commercial members of the National Newspapers of Ireland to licence publicly-funded news footage to them, for free. And, obviously, they continue to refuse to allow the pubic who paid for its creation to use the footage on the same terms.
I've received a few replies via my solicitor to my previous letters requesting RTE make the news footage available to Tuppenceworth on the same terms as those it is proposing for the members of the National Newspapers of Ireland (ie, for free). One: 18th July 2011I wish to acknowledge receipt of your request and accompanying fee made under the FOI Act.
Letter received today from RTE's Legal Department to my solicitor. Dear Sirs, I refer to your letter of the 26th May seeking access on your client's behalf to RTE News footage. The position is as follows.
A reply has now arrived to my 2nd email. The author, being the Head of Communications, is not in a position to provide the requested undertakings. I have made the following reply.
On the 7th April, I sent an email to the Director General of RTE about a proposal to allow National Newspaper of Ireland websites access to the News footage of the National Broadcaster. Following a reply today from the Head of Corporate Communications, RTE I have sent this follow up email. *****Dear Mr Dawson, Many thanks for your response.