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Media ownership in Ireland under spotlight with EU monitoring results- Lynn Boylan MEP

29 September, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has welcomed the news that the EU Media Pluralism Monitor, designed to identify potential risks to media pluralism in Member States, is to report the results for Ireland at the end of 2015.

Speaking today Ms Boylan said:

“Earlier this year I submitted a question to the EU Commission firstly, asking what Ireland’s status is under the Media Pluralism Monitor.

“Secondly, if Ireland is found to be in breach of EU competition law regarding the ownership and/or control of media, what recourse is available under EC law to citizens of Ireland to rectify the situation?

“Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of any democratic state and it can only be exercised in a free and diverse media environment.  This year we witnessed one of the most significant challenges to the independence of media when Denis O'Brien attempted to gag the reporting of a speech given under parliamentary privilege.

“Current government guidelines on media mergers say it is “undesirable” for one person or business to hold excessive influence, however the guidelines do not apply retrospectively, essentially leaving the current concentration of media ownership on our Island unchanged”

“During the consultation timeframe on these guidelines, Sinn Féin recommended that an advisory panel should be established to address proposals of media mergers and should be formal in nature. 

“Sinn Féin also proposed that the Minister, upon considering a media merger should make public their consideration on editorial ethos which will help inform wider debate surrounding the level of editorial independence in the media

.“These proposals would have made the industry a lot more transparent, and would have helped make to public more aware as to what particular individuals were expanding their empire while reducing media diversity.

“While not wanting to pre-empt any findings from the Media Pluralism Monitor, an external insight into the media ownership in Ireland will I'm sure, make for interesting reading."

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