Launch of 2016 Annual Report
Launch of the 2016 Annual Report of the Press Council of Ireland and Office of the Press Ombudsman
By Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
At the Maldron Hotel, Pearse Street, Dublin 2
Thursday 25 May at 10.30 am
The Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman today launched their Annual report for 2016. The Report highlighted that the Office of the Press Ombudsman received 261 complaints in 2016, down from 278 in the previous year. The complaints related to articles published in national and local newspapers, magazines and online-only news publications. In 2016 the Press Ombudsman made 23 decisions, down from 34 the previous year. Nine complaints were upheld in 2016. Speaking at the launch the Press Ombudsman, Peter Feeney, said “member publications are providing a service to their readers which is largely compliant with the requirements found in the Code of Practice”.
Seán Donlon, the Chair of the Press Council, also speaking at the launch welcomed the review of the Defamation Act which is currently taking place. He said that “reforms suggested by the Press Council and others would result in the possibility of lesser financial court settlements and more frequent use by complainants of the machinery of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council”. He went on to describe the complaints handling processes as “fair, fast and free”.
The guest speaker at the launch, Denis Naughten TD, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, said that a model had been developed which was neither based on statutory regulation nor self-regulation, and that this independent model had worked well and was a way of ensuring the press maintained high standards as well as protecting the privacy and dignity of individuals, whilst promoting the right of freedom of expression. He went on to say that the Government was considering how best to ensure the maintenance of standards in online social media sites and suggested that the example of the structures of the Press Council could provide a template.
You can read a copy of the Annual Report here