Strong, Independent Journalism Matters
Good journalism shines a light on the secrets of the past. Good journalism challenges authority and helps us understand what is going on around us. Good journalism connects communities. In Ireland local newspapers are the voices of their communities and regions.
All over the world a strong newspaper sector is central to a free and democratic society. Often attacks on the media are the first sign of a democracy under threat and the rise of authoritarianism. But good journalism persists – and puts the need of the people to know first.
But, in Ireland, good journalism is under threat.
Seismic technological change is disrupting journalism all over the world. Ireland is no exception to this. The growth of ‘fake news’ raises serious concerns about where we can source truthful, accurate accounts on all the issues that shape our lives. Changed advertising models have put enormous pressure on local and national media outlets.
News media publishers have not been standing still, and have invested in innovation to connect with their readers. And Irish people love their news, Currently there are an estimated 300 million page / screen views per month.
But more needs to be done.
Irish journalism is at a crossroads. Doing nothing is not an option.
If newspapers were to disappear so too would much of Irish online news, and with it many stories that need to be told.
Such an outcome would be good for ‘fake news’, but bad for Ireland.
But the good news is that we can do something about this. Like other countries have done, Ireland can take practical steps to ensure a sustainable future for journalism in Ireland.
- 1.Reduce VAT on print and digital newspapers to 5% . Ultimately reduce VAT on printed newspapers to 0% as is the case in Britain and other EU countries.
- Complete the long overdue review of the Defamation Act. It’s now almost three years since the review was announced and 40 submissions were made to the Department of Justice. The laws, as they currently are, have a chilling effect on democracy and a free press.
- Extend the brief of the Minister for Communications to include all media and not just the broadcast sector , ensuring the Minister has full oversight of our complex and ever evolving media landscape and public service journalism is supported across all media.