The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) launched their media literacy policy at the upmarket Marker Hotel in the Grand Canal Dock on Tuesday December 6th 2016. Following an introduction from BAI chief Michael O'Keefe, the speakers were Stephanie Comey (BAI), Sheila DeCourcy (RTE), Emma Bowell (Framework Films Cork), Irena Cvetkovic (CRAOL), Simon Grehan (Webwise.ie) and Martina Chapman. Their individual presentations were excellent and it is an important facet of communications as we continue onto the 21st century.
Some of my observations was that the launch perhaps should have been subtitled as 'The Death of State Censorship' as media literacy and our ability to get our information not just from the broadcast spectrum but online through which the Government results in the BAI have very little control over. A century ago radio became the first medium to have no borders, one state could not control another states broadcasts and what people listened to and it has take us in Ireland those one hundred years to figure out that may be a problem in our online age.
The launch concentrated on how news was delivered, interpreted and how social media and 'fake news' was impacting on the younger generation. Irish radio itself was conceived in sin during the 1916 Easter Rising when the rebels maintained their own radio station and our landscape today is sculpted by the rule and law breaking of the pirate era especially in the eighties, censorship and rules cannot be contained by borders and state control.
The BAI seems to be losing control of the Irish media and this sanitised presentation seems to portray that they may be living in a glasshouse and seemed needy in requiring a pat on the back for introducing a policy that they themselves said had been rolled out for sometime across Europe. The community radio sector seemed to have stolen the march on the BAI as they already have a media literacy programme rolled out across their various stations.
Perhaps if the BAI spent the money that was used on this lavish launch including lunch, on supporting the CRAOL initiatives they may have received more plaudits. And finally while they secured a room with seating for 100, it was only a third full and there was no representation from any of the independent commercial radio and television broadcasters. A brave face, an photo opportunity was the most the BAI gained from the occasion.
I suppose they have to be seen to be doing something to earn their salaries!!!!