Saturday 24 February 2018

Irish publications are 'more sensitive' and are reaching for higher standards of journalism, Press Council

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Zainab Boladale

A reduction in press complaints and the high standards of Irish journalism were the focal point at the launch of the 2016 annual report of the Press Council of Ireland.

According to the report, the Office of the Press Ombudsman received 261 complaints in 2016, down from 278 in the previous year. The complaints related to articles published in national and local newspapers, magazines and online-only news publications.

The Press Ombudsman made 23 decisions in total, down from 34 the previous year and a total of 9 complaints were upheld.

Minister Denis Naughten said that the council’s model had worked well and was a way of ensuring the press maintained high standards as well as protecting the privacy and dignity of individuals, whilst promoting the right of freedom of expression.

The minister also said the Government were considering how best to ensure the maintenance of standards in online social media sites.

The Press Ombudsman, Peter Feeney said that last year proved that editors of Irish publications were “more sensitive” and are reaching for higher standards of journalism.

He said they were more willing to resolve most of the complaints that were made. “Member publications are providing a service to their readers which is largely compliant with the requirements found in the Code of Practice”.

The chair of the Press Council, Seán Donlon said he welcomed the review of the Defamation Act and that the suggested reforms by the council “would result in the possibility of lesser financial court settlements and more frequent use by complainants of the machinery of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council”.

He described the handling of complaints as “fair, fast and free”.

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