Sunday 19 May 2019

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To mark World Press Freedom Day 2019, NewsBrands Ireland, the representative body for Ireland's leading news publishers, both print and online, has launched a campaign to highlight the urgent need for the reform of Ireland's defamation laws. Stock picture

Editorial: 'The crucial battle for media freedom' 

This year's World Press Freedom Index paints a worrying picture: "Hostility towards the media from political leaders is no longer limited to authoritarian countries…more and more democratically elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy's essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion," it states. In the United States of America, where the concept of a free press was written into the First Amendment of the Constitution, President Trump's repeated criticisms of the press, his belittling of journalists, his emphasis on "fake news", his...

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Photo: House of Commons/PA Wire

Editorial: 'Westminster is a circus in search of a ringmaster' 

If Theresa May moved significantly in the past three years, it was from no longer being part of the problem to being the problem itself. Some 28 of her ministers are reported to be in open revolt, favouring a customs union. The British prime minister has resisted this at all cost. The one point of possible consensus in a house historically divided was still being dismissed by Mrs May because it did not conform to her red-lines. Saving her party from a split once again trumps uniting the House.

The report from the all-party Committee on Climate Action, which contains 40 realisable recommendations, sets out an achievable policy platform in Ireland for the next 15 years. Stock image

Editorial: 'Climate change in Ireland and beyond' 

Politicians here last week published a cross-party consensus report for action on climate change. That report itself followed a Report of the Citizens' Assembly on climate change. There is any number of reports, nationally and internationally, on what is the most pressing issue of the century. The evidence is incontrovertible. Climate science has achieved an unprecedented degree of robustness, providing authoritative evidence of global temperature increase and associated features such as accelerating sea level rise, shrinking sea ice, glacier retreat and extreme events such as heat...

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Mark Condren

Editorial: 'McDonald has explaining to do' 

The decision by the Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald to pose with a banner reading ''England get out of Ireland'' at the St Patrick's Day parade has been widely and rightly condemned as "offensive, divisive and an embarrassment". Indeed it is not only that, but also entirely stupid, as has also been pointed out, for England is not now and never has been in Ireland. For a political leader who, at the outset, suggested that reconciliation was and would be the focus of her leadership, Ms McDonald is failing abysmally to live up to that sentiment. "No explanation...

A still image taken from the livestream. Photo: Reuters

Editorial: 'The livestream of ethnic nationalism' 

The murder of 49 people in Christchurch has been called the most shocking livestream in history. That it is, but the lesson from this outrage has become more urgent than to pearl clutch over the inbuilt fault line of social media and the lamentable, possibly wilful failure of its masters to properly contend with their responsibilities. For the terror attack in New Zealand has also exposed what has become the most dangerous political current in the contemporary world - ethnic nationalism - which thrives in this social media age, but which must surely be confronted and defeated.

'Correcting the imbalance is not the sole preserve of Government, but the responsibility of decision-makers everywhere, in both the public and private sectors' Stock photo: PA

Editorial: 'Greater focus on gender inequality' 

The ratification, albeit belated, of the Istanbul Convention by Ireland is an important and welcome development in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, but should not mark the end of efforts against what is a prevalent form of violence in our society. In tandem with these continuing efforts, greater focus must also be brought to eradicate all forms of inequality between men and women, particularly in the areas of politics, business, and employment in general.

'Domestic violence and sexual violence are pernicious evils which tend to undermine the core humanity of their victims' Stock image

Editorial: 'Law on 'coercive control' welcome' 

A new law to improve protections available to victims of domestic violence under both the civil and criminal law has been introduced, with a creation of a new offence of "coercive control". The Domestic Violence Act 2018, while overdue, is to be welcomed, particularly the new offence which, in the words of Minister for Justice, Charles Flanagan, "recognises that the effect of non-violent control in an intimate relationship can be as harmful to victims as physical abuse because it is an abuse of the unique trust associated with an intimate relationship".