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Leave Press Council to do its work

THERE was an interesting irony last week when the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern made public the first annual report of the Press Council. The council was set up by the industry with the encouragement of the Government under the chairmanship of Professor Tom Mitchell, the former Provost of Dublin University (Trinity), in part to defend individual rights against invasion of privacy by the media. There was an understanding that this was a more enlightened way to deal with perceived dissatisfaction with aspects of the media and preferable to either new privacy legislation or failure to reform the ancient and draconian libel laws.

But instead of allowing the council to catch its breath and get its feet under the table of media regulation, the minister has pre-empted its brief by announcing at the publication of the report that he plans to revive and "substantially amend" the Privacy Bill of 2006, which has been more or less buried in the Seanad for over a year.

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