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