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On Friday, May 3rd, several events took place in Dublin to mark international World Press Freedom Day. The Irish section of the Association of European Journalists hosted a lunch at the Stephen’s Green/Hibernian Club at which the guest was Dáithí Ó’Ceallaigh, Chairman of the Press Council and Director General of the Institute of International and European Affairs (the IIEA).

The IIEA recently hosted a seminar on “Media Pluralism and Freedom in a connected Europe” at which Commission Vice-President, Neelie Kroes, Commissioner for the Digital Agenda launched a consultation process, and called for submissions from interested parties, on the report of the High Level Group on Media and Pluralism published earlier in the year.

This was the theme taken up by Mr Ó’Ceallaigh in his remarks – highlighting the concerns of the report’s authors about media in countries like Hungary, Bulgaria Ukraine and the UK, whether they be concerns about media freedom, concentration of ownership, criminality and im­pu­ni­ty.

Highlighting some of the report’s re­com­men­da­tions, he stressed that they were just re­com­men­da­tions and he urged the journalists present to make submissions whether through channels such as the AEJ or in a personal capacity.

Much of the discussion revolved around whether a Pan-EU scheme could work, particularly in relation to the digital sphere, and whether any role for the EU would be supervisory or monitoring. Other issues that arose were media ownership in Ireland and the role of the Press Council – it can only respond to complaints – it cannot initiate actions.