SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has criticised a decision from RTÉ to ‘geoblock’ viewers in the North from watching their Tokyo Olympics coverage.
Mr. McNulty said it was ridiculous that people in the North would not be able to cheer on local and national athletes representing Ireland on our national broadcaster. The Armagh All-Ireland SFC winner has requested a meeting with RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes to seek answers.
The Newry & Armagh Assembly Member said:
“This is far from the first instance of RTÉ blocking broadcasts to the North during a programme of importance to people from across the island - we have seen this with sports in the past, including soccer and GAA, as well as online competitions. Beyond that, we have even seen RTÉ cut the North out of graphic representations of the map of our island.
“The latest RTÉ decision not to broadcast the Olympics, despite a number of athletes from the North representing Team Ireland in Tokyo, will be a great disappointment to many. Whole families will be gathered around the television to watch their loved ones compete at the pinnacle of their chosen sport, only to find that our national broadcaster have blocked them from watching their coverage.
“RTÉ is the national broadcaster and they have a responsibility to ensure that citizens in each of the four provinces can access programming. Many across the North rely on RTÉ for their news, sports, and entertainment programmes and were shocked to learn they could not watch the Olympics on the channel.
“I have written to RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes to raise my concerns and ask her to explain the repeated issues in broadcasting certain programmes to the North. As someone who lives in and represents a border area, it’s ridiculous that our neighbours in Monaghan and Louth can enjoy full coverage of the Olympics on RTÉ while we are often met with a blank screen.”