Northern Ireland news

RTÉ urged to take on International Olympics Committee over geo-blocking

There have been complaints about geo-blocking after viewers were unable to tune in to the broadcaster's coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Games via their subscription to Sky

RTÉ has been asked if it "protested against" the decision of the Olympics governing body to refuse it the rights to broadcast the games to Northern Ireland viewers.

There were complaints about geo-blocking after viewers were unable to tune in to the broadcaster's coverage of the Toyko 2020 Games via their subscription to Sky.

It is understood users of other platforms had similar issues.

An RTÉ spokesman explained that the station can only broadcast what is legally allowed to due to an internationally-recognised agreement.

"RTÉ only has rights to broadcast Olympics coverage in the Republic of Ireland," he said.

"The International Olympics Committee, who are the rights owners, have included Northern Ireland as part of UK broadcast territory for Olympics coverage and as such the rights holders for NI are BBC and Discovery (on Eurosport)."

However, complaints have continued on social media, despite criticism of the campaign by some users in the Republic who pointed out that its license fee is only paid by viewers there.

SDLP assembly member Justin McNulty said it was "ridiculous" that people in Northern would not be able to cheer on local and national athletes representing Ireland on "our national broadcaster" and has "written to RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes to raise my concerns".

"When meeting with the Director General I will be asking RTÉ if upon learning of this decision from the IOC they protested against it in any way or explained the unique position we are in here in the north.

"Regardless of who made the decision there should have been a tailored approach to allow viewers in the north to tune in. That should be obvious to both RTÉ and the IOC."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news