'Fake news' online boosts trust in newspapers, watchdog tells Dáil

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Allison Bray

The proliferation of unreliable or 'fake news' on social media has actually boosted trust in traditional media in Ireland, according to the head of the State broadcasting watchdog.

Professor Pauric Travers, chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), told a Dáil committee that Ireland actually bucks a worldwide trend towards mistrust of newspapers and traditional news outlets.

He cited the 'Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017'. "A welcome finding in relation to Ireland is that trust in news remains strong compared to other countries, especially trust in traditional media," it said.

Mr Travers conceded that the rapidly changing media landscape in which online broadcasters are not regulated compared to traditional broadcasters poses a serious challenge.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: "We're regulating the daylights out of the Irish media."