Monday 21 August 2017

Anne Harris: Respect for Press Council, which is certainly not 'toothless', really is in the public interest

The Irish Press Council is most apt forum for serving the public interest and privacy – and the British seem to agree, writes Anne Harris

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte with Press Council of Ireland chairman Daithi O'Ceallaigh, left, and Press Ombudsman Professor John Horgan.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte with Press Council of Ireland chairman Daithi O'Ceallaigh, left, and Press Ombudsman Professor John Horgan.

On January 11 last, a strange thing happened in a forum which is strange to us. The House of Lords in England debated the role of the Press Council in Ireland.

And then an even stranger thing happened: one Lord quoted an editorial from this newspaper.

"On the week after the Deputy Prime Minister's speech [on press regulation]," said Lord Bew, the Sunday Independent noted 'The confluence of separate recent controversies around varied issues and the increasing regular private litigation against journalists has facilitated the evolution of a subtle frost over how freely we can speak'."

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