330 complaints made about the press in 2017 - Report

330 complaints were made about the press in 2017, up from 261 the year before.

The complaints related to articles published in newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Most of the issues related to invasion of privacy and inaccurate reporting.

But despite the increase in complaints, Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney says he is happy with their annual report.

Peter Feeney, Press Ombudsman.

He said: "There is a slight increase in 2017 over 2016 but what is interesting is the number of upheld complaints last year was down on the previous year.

It was suggested that newspapers in general are getting it right more often and there has been less breaches found of the code of practice.

The Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman launched their Annual Report for 2017 today and speaking at the launch Seán Donlon, the Chairperson of the Press Council said there were two specific threats to press freedom in Ireland today.

The first of these is the current Defamation Act which he said has done nothing to reduce disproportionate defamation awards which are having “a chilling effect on press freedom”.

The much anticipated review of the Defamation Act, he said, must address the levels of awards or some publishers will simply go under.

The second threat Mr Donlon identified was the growing influence of social media in Irish public life.

He said:

"It is essential that governments and international organisations such as the EU now address the disproportionate and unaccountable power of social media.

"There has to be an acceptance that responsibility goes with power. If the social media organisations do not themselves take action to ensure that they do not undermine democratic systems then governments will have to bring in supervisory and regulatory measures comparable to that which newspapers, magazines, advertising and broadcasters already experience."

You can read the full report here.

- Digital Desk

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