RTE promises to boost news and current affairs

RTE has pledged to increase its news and current affairs output significantly as part of a “statement of commitments” for 2003.

In television, the promised increase is one of 10 per cent above current output for RTE One and 7 per cent for its second channel, Network 2.

It all comes from undertakings given by the station to the Government in return for the granting of a licence fee increase of E43 (£30.70) annually, one of the biggest ever secured and long sought by the station.

It has also been decided that the RTE pop radio channel, 2 FM, will carry more news and public affairs-type programming.

RTE also plans to set up an investigative unit to handle breaking stories and news follow-ups as well as appointing extra correspondents.

These moves come in response to a Government decision to instruct the minister with responsibility for broadcasting, Dermot Aherne, to require RTE to operate under a public service broadcasting charter setting out the obligations required of it, as it produces an estimated 152 hours more of home-produced television programming.

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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