The Social Democrats have renewed their calls for the establishment of a Commission on the Future of Media in Ireland and warned the need for such a Commission is more pressing than ever not least because of today’s Reporters Without Borders report showing that Ireland has slipped two places into 16th place in a worldwide press-freedom ranking index. The slippage was caused by RBD identifying a significant problem with the concentration of media ownership in Ireland and the high damages typically awarded by the Irish courts under defamation law. The Party’s Political Director Anne-Marie McNally said it was long-past time that the issue of media ownership in Ireland was brought to the fore.

Significantly,according to McNally, the report highlighted that INM controls much of the daily and Sunday newspaper market and then went onto say that the proposed Communications (Retention of Data) Bill has been criticised as insufficient when it comes to providing protections to Journalists.  Ms McNally said that recent revelations regarding the data breach in INM and the accessing of journalists emails and data have made it clear we have a significant problem in Ireland with protecting journalists in Ireland and media ownership appears to be at the root of it.

“It is impossible to separate what is unfolding in INM presently with what today’s Reporters Without Borders report shows. The report identifies the concentration of media ownership in Ireland as being problematic. Separately it goes on to talk about the lack of protections afforded journalists and their data in this country. The INM case is a clear example of where the two issues intersect and irreparable damage is done not only to the integrity of the media in Ireland but also to democracy as a whole.”

“Last week, following the release of some of the damning INM revelations contained in the ODCE’s affidavit the Social Democrats called for cross-party support for their motion to establish a Commission into the Future of Media in Ireland. The National Union of Journalists has long since advocated the establishment of such a Commission and the NUJ are now urging politicians across the political spectrum to support and sign our Motion. It is long past time for Ireland to deal with the issue of media plurality or its lack thereof.”

ENDS

25th April 2018