Defamation Act 2009

SCHEDULE 2

Minimum Requirements in Relation to Press Council

1. The Press Council shall be a company limited by guarantee.

2. The principal objects of the Press Council shall be to—

( a) ensure the protection of freedom of expression of the press,

( b) protect the public interest by ensuring ethical, accurate and truthful reporting by the press,

( c) maintain certain minimum ethical and professional standards among the press,

( d) ensure that the privacy and dignity of the individual is protected.

3. The Press Council shall be independent in the performance of its functions.

4. The owner of any periodical in circulation in the State or part of the State shall be entitled to be a member of the Press Council.

5. (1) The number of directors of the Press Council shall be 13, of whom—

( a) 7 shall be directors (in this Schedule referred to as “independent public interest directors”) who represent the public interest,

( b) 5 shall be directors who represent the interests of owners and publishers of periodicals,

( c) one shall be a director who represents the interests of journalists.

(2) One of the independent public interest directors of the Press Council shall be appointed as chairperson of the Press Council.

6. (1) The independent public interest directors shall—

( a) be persons who are of standing in the community,

( b) be persons who are independent of—

(i) the interests of owners and publishers of periodicals, and

(ii) the interests of journalists,

and

( c) be selected for appointment as independent public interest directors—

(i) by a panel of persons who are, in the opinion of the Minister, independent of the interests referred to in paragraph 5(1) (b) and (c),

(ii) in accordance with a selection process that is advertised to members of the public in a manner that the Minister considers to be sufficient.

(2) The criteria for selecting persons for appointment as independent public interest directors shall be published in such manner as will enable them to be inspected by members of the public.

7. (1) The Press Council shall be funded from subscriptions paid by members of the Press Council calculated in accordance with such rules as the Press Council shall make for that purpose.

(2) The Press Council shall not accept gifts or funding from any person other than subscriptions referred to in subparagraph (1).

8. (1) The Press Council shall have authority to receive, hear and determine complaints concerning the conduct of its members.

(2) The Press Council shall appoint a person (in this Act referred to as the “ Press Ombudsman ”) to investigate, hear and determine complaints made to the Press Council concerning the conduct of its members.

9. (1) The procedures for investigating, hearing and determining a complaint to the Press Ombudsman shall—

( a) where appropriate, provide for the expeditious and informal resolution of the matter between the complainant and the member of the Press Council in respect of whom the complaint was made,

( b) provide for the determination of the matter by the Press Ombudsman, where all reasonable efforts made in accordance with clause (a) in relation to the matter have failed,

( c) provide for the taking of remedial action by the member of the Press Council in respect of whom the complaint was made consisting of any or all of the following:

(i) the publication of the decision of the Press Ombudsman by such members of the Press Council as he or she directs and in such form and manner as he or she directs;

(ii) the publication of a correction of inaccurate facts or information relating to the complainant in a manner that gives due prominence to the correction in the publication concerned;

(iii) the publication of a retraction in respect of the material complained of; or

(iv) such other action as the Ombudsman may, in the circumstances, deem appropriate.

(2) A determination of the Press Ombudsman in relation to a complaint may be appealed to the Press Council.

(3) Where an appeal is brought against the determination of the Press Ombudsman it shall be determined by the directors of the Press Council.

(4) A determination of the Press Council, upon an appeal from a determination of the Press Ombudsman, shall be published by such members of the Press Council as the directors of the Press Council direct and in such form and manner as they direct.

10. The Press Council shall adopt a code of standards which shall specify the standards to be adhered to, and the rules and practices to be complied with by the members of the Press Council including—

( a) ethical standards and practices,

( b) rules and standards intended to ensure the accuracy of reporting where a person’s reputation is likely to be affected, and

( c) rules and standards intended to ensure that intimidation and harassment of persons does not occur and that the privacy, integrity and dignity of the person is respected.