Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Press Ombudsman probed 81 complaints to office last year

Emma Jane Hade

Published 30/05/2014 | 02:30

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Press Ombudsman, Professor John Horgan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Press Ombudsman, Professor John Horgan. Photo: Damien Eagers

OVER one-fifth of the complaints made to the Press Ombudsman against newspapers and magazines last year were officially probed.

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The 2013 report, which was released yesterday by the Press Ombudsman and Press Council of Ireland, revealed that there were 381 complaints to the organisation last year.

And just 81 of these were officially probed by the end of the year.

Although the number of complaints made to the office has seen a drop of 194 cases compared to the previous year, there was an increase in the percentage of which were pursued.

Just 29 were ruled on by the Ombudsman and over one quarter of these were upheld.

The Press Council's annual report was launched yesterday in Dublin, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke at the event, where he praised the work of the Press Ombudsman for the "vital role they play in society.

"Because our people are sovereign, our nation will always be unafraid," he said.

"The Press Council and Press Ombudsman have a critical role to play in guaranteeing truth over falsehood, and the fairness over the open market."

This is the last report to be issued by the current Press Ombudsman, Professor John Horgan, pictured.

He said that during the six years he spent in the role, he learned that there is "immense goodwill out there for honest, courageous journalism that provides a real service to the body politic".

A large number of the complaints made were submitted under several different principles of 'Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines'.

Almost 34pc of the complaints were in relation to truth and accuracy, while 15pc were filed under respect for rights.

Nearly 8pc of complaints were made under prejudice, while just under 3pc were made in relation to children.

Over 12pc of complaints were filed in relation to breaches of privacy, and almost 11pc were against distinguishing fact and comment.

Just 49 of complaints were against fairness and honesty and there was none against protection of sources or publication of decision.

Almost two-thirds of complaints were made against national newspapers and less than 1pc were made against magazines.

Irish Independent

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