Latest Report of The Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman

The Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman launched their Annual Report for 2017 on Thursday, 24 May.

The Office of the Press Ombudsman received 330 complaints last year relating to articles published in national and local newspapers, magazines and online-only news publications. This was an increase of 26% on 2016.

Speaking at the report’s launch Seán Donlon, Chairman of the Press Council highlighted two specific threats to press freedom in Ireland today. Firstly, the current Defamation Act which he said has done nothing to reduce disproportionate defamation awards which are having “a chilling effect on press freedom”. The second threat is the growing influence of social media in Irish public life.

He said: “It is essential that governments and international organisations such as the EU now address the disproportionate and unaccountable power of social media. There has to be an acceptance that responsibility goes with power. If the social media organisations do not themselves take action to ensure that they do not undermine democratic systems then governments will have to bring in supervisory and regulatory measures comparable to that which newspapers, magazines, advertising and broadcasters already experience”.
The report can be read here.

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