World News Day: Irish publishers call for government support to safeguard from spread of misinformation

Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland, said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of trustworthy news sources.
World News Day: Irish publishers call for government support to safeguard from spread of misinformation

NewsBrands Ireland said the role of public interest journalism is vital in the democratic process and in safeguarding citizens from fake news and the spread of misinformation.

NewsBrands Ireland are urging the government to support journalism on World News Day.

It has called for action tackling the dominance of tech platforms in the digital advertising market, urgent reform of defamation law and a reduction on VAT.

The group said the role of public interest journalism is vital in the democratic process and in safeguarding citizens from fake news and the spread of misinformation.

Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland, said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of trustworthy news sources.

"We are proud that Irish news publishers have been to the forefront in keeping the public accurately informed since the crisis began.

Our journalists have worked hard to consistently deliver accurate, fact-checked information and news analysis to the Irish people, while dangerous falsehoods spread like wildfire on social media.

NewsBrands Ireland said publishers are struggling to monetise content adequately while international technology giants, who do not invest in content creation, absorb a disproportionate share of advertising revenue on the back of content created by news publishers.

“Without a vibrant local and national news publishing industry, going forward, who will report on the courts, the Oireachtas, the County Councils, local and national sporting events, raise awareness of important societal issues and campaign for change? Google? Facebook?" asked Ms Lenihan.

NewsBrands Ireland are calling on the government to:

  • Complete the long-overdue Review of the Defamation Act and reform Ireland’s draconian defamation laws. NewsBrands Ireland along with many other organisations, made submissions to the Department of Justice in January 2017. To date, the review has not been completed.
  • Tackle the dominance of tech platforms in the digital advertising market. Urgent pro-competitive reform to rebalance the platform-publisher relationship and restore competition to the digital advertising market is needed to secure a sustainable future for news publishers 
  •  Reduce VAT to 5% on newspapers and digital news products. Ultimately reduce VAT to 0% as is the case in Britain and other EU countries.

More in this section