Collins to head up broadcast body

Bob Collins, the former RTE director general, has been appointed chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), the new body which will be responsible for regulating both commercial and public service broadcasting in Ireland. One of its first tasks will be to devise new rules on junk food advertising.
The BAI will replace the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC). Collins, currently chairman of the Equality Commission in the North of Ireland, is one of five people appointed to the BAI.
Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, also selected Irish Times columnist John Waters, who has served on the BCI board in recent years and Paula Downey, culture change consultant and a partner with Downey Youell Associates.
Michelle McShortall, a designer with Intuition e-learning in Dublin and Dr Maria Moloney, a solicitor who has represented the North on the UK’s Independent Television Commission (ITC) will also be on the board.
Four more BAI board members are to be selected by an Oireachtas committee for communications, following the placement of ads inviting expressions of interest from members of the public.
New members of the RTE Authority and the TG4 board will be selected using a similar process. As well as rules on junk food advertising, the BAI will launch a new code on religious advertising.
In a press statement, Willie O’Reilly, chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland and chief executive of Denis O’Brien’s Today FM station, expressed concern at Collins’s appointment.
While giving due recognition to Collins’s professionalism and personal qualities, he questioned the appropriateness of having a BAI chairman who has spent most of his working life in RTE.

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