NewsBrands Ireland Statement – Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2019

02.08.2019 NewsBrands Ireland, the representative body for Ireland’s leading national news publishers, welcomes Minister Bruton’s acknowledgment that independent journalism is critical and should be supported.

However, this has to be placed in a far wider context than the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill and bursaries for journalists in local radio stations.

NewsBrands Ireland also reiterates its call for the Government to appoint a Minister for Media with responsibility for oversight of all aspects of our complex and ever-changing media market.

The issue of Government support for public service journalism is not a straightforward issue and requires an urgent wider debate that extends beyond the provision of bursaries for local radio journalists and addresses some of the key challenges facing Irish media, including the chilling effect our libel laws have on the media’s role as the public’s watchdog and its ability to reveal matters of important public interest.  

It is critical that citizens have access to content researched and produced by professional journalists.  Maintaining and supporting a viable quality journalism sector should be a priority for every Government interested in supporting our democratic process – and that support should not be confined to the broadcasting sector.

NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Matters video series, highlighted examples of outstanding public interest journalism which have effected real change in Irish society, from investigative journalism which uncovered wrongdoing and illegal activity to campaigning journalism which achieved tangible results, to reporting of issues or stories which changed the public discourse.

The appointment of a Minister for Media would facilitate a holistic view of the Irish media market and a wider conversation around the important societal role played by Ireland’s news publishers as well as the challenges faced by the industry.