Thursday 16 August 2018

Calls for Commission on Future of the Media 'to ensure independence and diversity'

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A Commission on the Future of the Media should be established to ensure media independence and diversity, the Social Democrats have said.

Co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall are seeking cross-party support for the body which would be made up of experts, representatives from media outlets and the National Union of Journalists.

The move comes on the back of an alleged data breach at Independent News and Media (INM) which was the subject of a court hearing yesterday.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is seeking to appoint High Court inspectors to investigate corporate governance issues at INM.

Among the accusations is that email records, including some belonging to journalists, were taken off site and interrogated by third parties in 2014.

Speaking outside Leinster House today, Ms Murphy said this is a “very serious issue for our democracy and profession of journalism”.

She said a commission would help secure the future of good journalism.

"We know what we don’t want but we don’t know what we do want," the Kildare TD said, adding that there is a concern around media plurality.

The controversy over INM, which is the publisher of, is set to dominate the Dáil agenda today when it returns from its Easter break.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the issue is of "very, very deep concern" and her party will consider supporting the establishment of a commission. 

However, the Dublin Central TD said she would not "rush to conclusions".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is also expected to raise the issue with Taosieach Leo Varadkar today.

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