Sunday 17 December 2017

Press watchdog to review findings of phone hacking inquiry

Daithi O Ceallaigh, Pat Rabbitte and Professor John Horgan
at the launch of the Press Council and Ombudsman’s report
Daithi O Ceallaigh, Pat Rabbitte and Professor John Horgan at the launch of the Press Council and Ombudsman’s report
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

THE findings of the Leveson Inquiry into media standards in Britain will be reviewed by the press watchdog here.

Chairman of the Press Council of Ireland Daithi O Ceallaigh said the recommendations of the inquiry into phone hacking will be of great significance to anyone who is interested in putting the relationship between the press and its public on a new and better footing.

Speaking at the launch of the annual report of the Press Council and the Press Ombudsman in Dublin yesterday, Mr O Ceallaigh said: "It goes without saying that any new ideas that emerge from Leveson will deserve careful consideration and evaluation by all concerned. The Press Council of Ireland will play its part in this at the appropriate time."

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte told the audience of editors that while he did not believe the worst excesses uncovered by the Leveson Inquiry were replicated here, it was useful to have a debate on the relationship between journalism and politics.

"It seems to me a little distance and tension between journalism and politics is a healthy thing. I don't believe that some of the more odious practices exposed at the Leveson Inquiry are present in Ireland, but it does raise some major questions about the nexus between journalism and politics at the most senior level," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr O Ceallaigh said that while the crisis affecting the economic model of the traditional press industry has not gone away, the "predicted death of newspapers" will not be fulfilled. He also raised the possibility of the council and ombudsman extending their reach to include "bona-fide web-based publications".

"The values of journalism are not platform-specific and consumers of the new web-based media are also entitled to the best practice standards and to appropriate forms of redress."

Ombudsman Professor John Horgan said he would be launching an awareness campaign to raise the profile of the council and ombudsman.

Prof Horgan decided on 42 complaints in 2011 and upheld 40pc of them. Almost a third related to truth and accuracy, while almost a quarter related to prejudice. Almost one-quarter of cases were either resolved informally or successfully conciliated between the complainant and the newspaper.

Blair attacks press

Irish Independent

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