Chairman of Press Council announced

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Friday, 26th January 2007
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26 January 2007

Former TCD Provost to chair new Press Council

Professor Thomas Mitchell, former Provost of Trinity College Dublin and one of the country’s leading academics, has been appointed Chairman of the inaugural Press Council of Ireland.

The announcement was made by the Press Industry Steering Committee (PISC), a joint industry group that includes the National Newspapers of Ireland, the Regional Newspaper Association of Ireland, the Periodical Publishers Association of Ireland, the National Union of Journalists and the Irish Editions of UK titles.

The PISC was formed in January 2004 in order to agree a model for the establishment of an independent Press Council. Professor Mitchell had independently chaired the PISC since its establishment, but steps down from
that role with immediate effect in order to take up his new position.
“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed Chairman of the first Press Council of Ireland,” said Professor Mitchell today. “The establishment of an independent Press Council means a great deal to this country,
not just for the sake of press freedom but for the ordinary people of Ireland who will now have access to a press complaints mechanism that is free and fair.
“It has taken a great deal of hard work and dialogue to get this far, and I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who has contributed to the establishment of a Press Council,” he went on. “In particular, the efforts of the Press Industry Steering Committee and the Minister for Justice should be acknowledged.”

Professor Mitchell will also take up the position of Chairman of the Appointments Committee for the Press Council of Ireland. Among the first tasks facing the Appointments Committee will be to select the six other
independent members of the new Press Council – Professor Mitchell himself being the seventh independent member – and to receive nominations for the six industry members.
Also sitting on the Appointments Committee are Dr Maurice Manning, Chairman of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dr Miriam Hederman-O’Brien, former Chairman of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, and Mr Kevin Murphy, former Ombudsman and Information Commissioner.

As the Press Council is a newly-established body, its first Chairman was appointed by the PISC. In future, however, the Chairman will be chosen by the Press Council including the outgoing Chairman. The model for setting up an Office of Press Ombudsman and Press Council has been incorporated into the
Defamation Bill 2006 which is currently being debated in the Seanad. The Press Ombudsman will be appointed by the Press Council. Under the terms of the agreed model, both Office of Press Ombudsman and Press Council will be
independent of Government and, in operation, independent of the media.

For more information contact Michelle Morrisroe on (01) 668 9099.
Clyde Lodge, 15 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Telephone (01) 668 9099 Fax (01) 668 9872 Email [email protected]