Media merger guidelines welcomes but some issues remain to be addressed - Colreavy
Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, has broadly welcomed the publication of guidelines on media mergers, however serious issues must still be addressed.
Deputy Colreavy said:
“Media is a major factor in shaping the ideas, opinions and debates about political, cultural and civil topics. Therefore, in a democratic society the ownership of media has an important impact on how debates on issues of national importance, and also local importance, are framed.
“Since citizens make many political decisions on the information received from media, media’s role as a source of news and their ability to influence ideas translates into a capacity to shape governance.
“If media limit information or narrow the breadth of political debates, citizens are precluded from properly exercising their political powers, and political control is more likely to shift to the hands of a single constituency or small elite.
“I broadly welcome these guidelines which recognise that there is a significant problem with media plurality if media is controlled in the hands of a small number of people.
“The guidelines will allow the Minister to determine whether a proposed media merger would be against the public interest on the basis of media plurality.
“However, issues still remain.
“These guidelines are not retrospective, so they will not affect those persons with already extensive control of the Irish media market. The guidelines do not take into account the financial and investment interests of those involved in a media merger, which, from recent events, could result in a gagging of a section of our press.
“The guidelines do not address demographic or geographic imbalances in media ownership and whether future mergers would exacerbate this.
“The publication of these guidelines is to be welcomed, but they do little to address the serious problems that currently exist in media ownership in Ireland.”