Ahern's Privacy Law 'Will Damage Press Freedom'

Daily Mail (London), April 1, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Ahern's Privacy Law 'Will Damage Press Freedom'


Byline: Irish Daily Mail Reporter

PRIVACY laws could be introduced under a bill being considered by the Government - despite compelling evidence that there is no need for them.

Speaking at the launch of the first annual report of the Press Council and the Press Ombudsman, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he was seriously considering putting into law the 'existing constitutional right to privacy'.

Yesterday's Press Council report reveals only a handful of complaints against newspapers and periodicals were upheld by the watchdog.

At least one complaint was made every day in its first year - but only 13 of these were upheld.

But announcing that privacy laws were still on the Government agenda, Mr Ahern said: 'The focus of the Privacy Bill is not, as some commentators seem to think, all about the media and nothing else.

The Bill deals with a range of situations where the privacy of a person might be violated and which would not involve the media at all.

'There is no threat, as some might assert, to investigative journalism that rightly seeks to hold Government, institutions of the State, business and other organisations up to scrutiny. The opposite is the case.' However media organisations fear the new privacy laws will have a chilling effect on investigative journalism following a series of blows to Press freedom in the European courts.

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Ahern's Privacy Law 'Will Damage Press Freedom'
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