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NUJ in Ireland calls for commission on media ownership

12 June 2012

The National Union of Journalists has urged the Irish government to push through legislation transferring responsibly for media mergers and competition issues to the Department of Communications, Energy and National Resources.

Following boardroom rows about strategy and money at Independent News & Media Plc, Ireland's biggest media company, the NUJ has called for the establishment of a media ownership commission. The union haswarned against the consequences of concentration of ownership of print, broadcast and online media.

Barry McCall, NUJ vice-president, said:

"With so much of the media now in the effective control of Denis O'Brien there is a need for urgent action on this issue. There is an urgent need for legislation guaranteeing media plurality. The NUJ has long demanded action in this area.
"Cowardice in dealing with powerful vested interests has brought us to this situation and real leadership is needed if we are to have a media which is diverse and which serves the public interest free of commercial or personal agendas.
"Quality journalism is crucially dependent on diversity of ownership. The allocation of editorial budgets, the appointment of editors and broad company policies are determined by those who own a media organisation."

Séamus Dooley, Irish secretary, said:

"There is also a need for a wider public debate on media policy in Ireland. 
"Successive review bodies have concentrated on elements of the media but we now need a commission on media ownership, reviewing all aspects of media ownership and control."

Tags: , ownership, independent news and media, Denis O'Brien, diversity, government ireland, newspapers, broadcasting, new media