Irish government urged to mark world press freedom day by backing Media Commission
2 May 2018
NUJ Irish secretary, Séamus Dooley, has called for cross-party politicial support on the establishment of a Commission on the Future of the Media in Ireland.
In a letter to the Taoiseach and opposition leaders the NUJ highlighted recent developments that underline the need for all-party support to tackle the issue of media ownership and control, as well as addressing other vital issues.
Séamus Dooley said:
"There is a crisis in the media in Ireland. Recent developments at INM clearly vindicate the NUJ concerns over media ownership and control but the crisis is multi-dimensional. The dire financial position of the public service broadcaster, the closure of so many regional titles, the absence of diversity within our newsrooms combined with a failure to address the democratic deficit caused by media dominance need to be addressed in a coherent fashion.
"Political fear of retribution by powerful figures may well have inhibited politicians from taking a stand on this issue to date but in the current grave situation there is a need for political courage.
"A healthy democracy needs a healthy media. That means addressing economic challenges, reforming legal constraints on freedom of expression and looking afresh at media policy, including training and professional development.
"We hope that 3 May 2018 may mark the beginning of a positive engagement with TDs and senators on this issue."
The NUJ has suggested a range of pertinent issues which should be examined by the commission:
- the role of the media in democracy
- the protection of editorial independence
- the promotion of media plurality
- funding models for public and private media across all sectors and the possibility of state support including taxation measures
- legal constraints on freedom of expression, including defamation law
- the role, function and funding of public service broadcasting
- access to professional careers in the media
- training and professional development of media workers
- employment standards
- media ownership and control, including a review of the regulatory framework