Saturday 3 December 2016

Sinn Féin MEP calls for inquiry into ownership of the media in Ireland

Published 25/10/2016 | 02:30

Seamus Dooley
Seamus Dooley

A report commissioned by a Sinn Féin MEP has called for a Commission of Inquiry into media ownership in Ireland.

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The report on the concentration of media ownership in Ireland was commissioned by Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan.

It was carried out by two legal firms, based in London and Belfast.

The study raised concerns about the level of media ownership by businessman Denis O'Brien and the influence of RTÉ which gets State funding.

It claimed Ireland has "one of the most concentrated media markets of any democracy" and says it is "imperative that urgent action is taken, and seen to be taken, to reassure journalists, media organisations and the wider public".

The report highlights that Mr O'Brien is a shareholder in the publishers of this newspaper, Independent News and Media (INM), and owns the commercial radio group Communicorp.

It said that he has been involved in a number of legal cases against media outlets and suggests the current defamation laws have a "chilling effect".

A spokesperson for Mr O'Brien declined to comment last night.

The National Union of Journalists said: "Central to that debate is the issue of ownership and control but we also need to examine wider issues, including access to employment, barriers to diversity in journalism, the gender pay gap, the precarious nature of employment within the media and the specific issues confronting local media organisations.

"The vast majority of Irish journalists behave in an ethical manner.

"They work hard in extremely difficult conditions," Irish secretary of the NUJ Séamus Dooley said.

Irish Independent

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