Private member’s bill bids to tackle media ownership

Catherine Murphy
Catherine Murphy

A private member’s bill to tackle the concentration of media ownership in Ireland will be laid before the Dáil today.

The Media Ownership Bill 2017 will be presented to TDs by Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy later today.

Ms Murphy said: “We are seeing in the US how vital an independent and diverse media is in the face of huge challenges to democracy and the rule of law.

“All democracies depend on an active and diverse media both in terms of content and ownership. Yet there is significant evidence that the concentration of media ownership in Ireland is ‘high risk’, which puts the independence of this vital democratic institution in jeopardy.”

The bill seeks to rebalance the media landscape in Ireland with a focus on improving media plurality and diluting the potential for over-concentration of ownership by any one individual or company.

Seamus Dooley, the Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “The Bill is timely in that it coincides with the proposed acquisition by INM of Celtic Press. If this acquisition goes through it would further increase INM’s dominance in the Irish market and be a threat to media plurality.

“Internationally, the issue of press freedom and impartial journalism is to the forefront of public debate as people begin to realise the dangers of ‘Fake News’ and ‘alternative facts’.

“Both the global and domestic situation have drawn into sharp focus the importance of a pluralistic media environment that actively challenges and holds power to account in the interests of democracy.”

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