Status: Free
Legal Environment: 3
Political Influences: 7
Economic Pressures: 5
Total Score: 15

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 77
Religious Groups: Roman Catholic (91.6 percent), Church of Ireland (2.5 percent), other (5.9 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Celtic, English minority
Capital: Dublin

Press freedom is constitutionally guaranteed in Ireland. Government plans to reduce media access to government information have been criticized, as have plans to introduce a mandatory Press Council to regulate media conduct. The proposed council would act as a regulatory body that would handle complaints against the press, allowing courts to take a negative view of newspapers that refused to participate in the council. Amendments to the outdated, restrictive defamation law, which the justice minister promised to amend by year's end, have yet to be passed. The media are free and independent, and Internet access is unrestricted. The national public broadcaster, Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), dominates the radio and TV sector. This year, RTE launched a longwave transmitter that allowed it to reach listeners throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. The growth of cable and satellite is weakening the state broadcaster's influence. The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) issued only two new radio licenses for Dublin, fearing that more would threaten the viability of existing stations. The BCI made several controversial decisions in June when it dropped an antiwar fund-raising concert from the airwaves just days after it meddled in the editorial decisions of independent media outlets and censored news bulletins that the Republican Party complained would reflect poorly on the government the day before the elections.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.