Obama for the Irish Diaspora

RTE (the Irish state broadcasting company) has put on hold its plans to launch ‘RTE International’ (reported in The Irish Independent this week).  What’s been called ‘Diaspora TV’ has been shelved as RTE can’t afford the Euro 2m per year it would take to keep the channel going.  The plan was for launch on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 but not any more.  They will launch it (there’s a statutory obligation to do so following the 2007 amended Broadcasting Act), though there’s no commitment to when.

The primary audience for the channel is the 850,000 Irish born people living in Great Britain.  I’m not an economist but a simple calculation has me wondering why at Euro 2.35 a head, per year, the Irish born residents of Great Britain can’t afford to do this on their own.  And what about asking the non-Irish-born in Britain to club together, that’d bring the price down even further.

Why stop there?  It’d be even cheaper if they offered it on the net and the seventy million people calling themselves Irish around the world chipped in! It’d cost less than 1 cent per person, per year. Not bad, even if all you watched were the Father Ted re-runs.

The big question is:  Why do we need the ‘State’ to deliver this channel at all?  Why can’t we do it on our own?  Seems to me, what we’re missing is not a TV channel from RTE but leadership.  The USA has Barack Obama, the Environment has Al Gore, new technology has Steve Jobs, fluffy lap-dogs have Paris Hilton but what about the Diaspora? Nothing!  No one to consolidate a vision, fulfill a dream and organize this motley crew.  No one to interest businessmen in their constituents and sell ideas like Diaspora TV to us all.

I guess until we can find and agree such a leader or until RTE can rustle up the cash to entertain us off-site Irish, can I ask that we all post our videos on to www.seventymillion.com (the social network part of this SEVENTYMILLION project) so we have some content for us all to share.  Meanwhile, I’m off to prepare my party political broadcast.

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