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Ireland: media concentrated in a few hands


The crisis-induced concentration of Irish media has even caused politicians to take action. In December 2014, Irish Minister of Communications Alex White presented new guidelines to combat the increase in media monopolies. But critics say this will make no dent in the already established dominance of certain media organisations.

The country's oldest newspaper.
(© picture-alliance/dpa)


The Independent News and Media Group alone already controls 40 percent of the market for daily and Sunday newspapers. The financial crisis, which hit Ireland particularly hard, increased this concentration even further. Nevertheless, according to a study conducted by Irish newspaper publishers, four out of five Irish still regularly read a newspaper.

With a daily print run of 112,000 copies the conservative daily The Irish Independent still leads the market. The country's oldest newspaper is the liberal The Irish Times, founded in 1859, which in 1999 became one of the first papers to recognise the increasing importance of the Internet and was a pioneer internationally in expanding its online service. Business-oriented news portals, such as Businessworld.ie and thejournal.ie are also increasingly successful. Around 78 percent of the Irish population use the Internet, and the readerships of online news portals showed a 26 percent increase in 2013 over the previous year.

Gaelic publications are the exception and are mostly subsidised by the state to promote the conservation of the Irish language, which 40 percent of the population still speak. The public television station TG4 and six radio stations broadcast exclusively in Gaelic. In December 2008, however, the last Gaelic daily Lá Nua ceased publication.

Following the Anglo-Saxon liberal media model, political parties in Ireland have little influence on the press. Traditionally the links with commercial interests are stronger. Both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland British media are widespread, adapting their content only slightly to the Irish public.

The thirty-year-old conflict in Northern Ireland between unionist Protestants and separatist Catholics has at times led to restrictions on press freedom, which had a particular impact in the Republic of Ireland. But since the Good Friday agreement of 1998 brought an end to the troubles, press freedom has been guaranteed.

Press Freedom Index:

Reporters without Borders: 11th place (2015)
Freedom House: 15th place (2014)

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