Publication: The Electronic Age


The Development and Regulation of the Telephone, Broadcasting and Other Electronic Media

About the Book

For most of human history only deities and evil spirits sent messages across the sky. Today, the human voice, television signals and electronic data can travel at the speed of light to any part of the civilised world. These electronic forces are directly and indirectly shaping our lives.

THE ELECTRONIC AGE considers the development and regulation in Ireland of all forms of electronic communication, in particular the telephone and broadcasting. The book starts with a general discussion of the extraordinary influence these technologies have had on our lives, and then traces the history of telecommunication in Ireland, from the early days of the telegraph to the sophisticated technology of today.

The book also provides a detailed examination at how electronic communication is regulated in Ireland, including the privileges, powers and duties of RTE, the private broadcasting stations, Telecom Eireann, the Minister for Communications and the Minister for Arts and Culture. It discusses topical issues relating to the regulation of telecommunication and concludes with a lively discussion of some related themes, including freedom of expression, censorship, right to privacy, and broadcasters’ duties of objectivity and impartiality.

THE ELECTRONIC AGE will be fascinating reading for anyone involved in the communications revolution - from people working in the broadcasting or computer industries to those involved in its regulation to anyone intrigued by the incredible impact the constantly changing world of telecommunication has on our lives.


Part One: Introduction

The Electronic Age

Part Two: The Development of Telecommunication in Ireland

The Early Development of Telecommunication: The Telegraph / The Telephone and Radio Communication / Telecommunication Carrier Services, 1930-1993 / Radio and Broadcasting / Telecommunication via Satellite / Current Developments in Telecommunication

Part Three: The Regulation of Telecommunication in Ireland: Development and Overview

Development and Regulation of Telecommunication to 1922 / The Regulation of Telecommunication Carrier Services in Ireland / Wireless Telegraphy / State Broadcasting: Regulation by Government and Ministers for Posts and Telegraphs, 1926-1953 / Broadcasting Regulation, 1953-1993 / Cable Television

Part Four: Telecommunication Privileges, Powers and Duties

Introduction / Privileges, Powers and Duties of the Government, Minister for Communications and Minister for Arts and Culture / Censorship of the Broadcasting Media Including Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, 1960 / Privilege, Powers and Duties of Telecom Eireann / The Privileges and Duties of Other Providers of Telecommunication Services / Privilege, Powers and Duties of Radio Telefís Eireann (RTE) / Cable Television and Multi-Point Microwave Distribution Systems (MMDS) Providers / The Powers and Duties of the Independent Radio and Television Commission and Other Private Broadcasting Service Providers / Powers and Functions of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission

Part Five: The Regulation of Telecommunication in Ireland: A General Analysis and Conclusions

General Analysis of Development of Telecommunication Law in Ireland / The Case for and Against Regulation / The Jurisprudence of the Courts and International Influences / Freedom of Expression / The Right to Communicate / Interception of Telecommunication / The Pervasiveness Rationale in Broadcasting / The Statutory Duties of Objectivity and Impartiality in Broadcasting Services / Prohibitions on Advertising in the Broadcast Media / Whither Now