Who’s in charge?

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) regulates every television and radio broadcaster in Ireland. It is a statutory body.

The Irish Press Council, recognised by statute, regulates newspapers (though not all of them – papers can decide to opt in or opt out.)

The Press Council also accepts web-based publications, though only one is listed on their website, An Fear Rua, which closed shop last September.

But what happens if an online publication isn’t web-based? If I set up a publication which only lives in apps and e-readers, does the Press Council care?

And if I start podcasting, does the BAI suddenly get interested, or do they only care if a radio or television station broadcasts what I’ve created?

In truth, I don’t really care right now. I consider the BAI regulations bad for journalism, and the Press Council is in reality little more than a mechanism to minimise defamation claims.

In truth, I’m not that enthusiastic about press regulation for a number of reasons, but as Leveson showed, politicians can all too casually decide to regulate new content paths.

It’s just a shame they rarely show the same speed and enthusiasm in encouraging a media marketplace of truly diverse voices.


By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.