Score:89.91 // Status: Free

2 – Ireland

In Ireland, journalists work freely and without interference.

In recent years, media pluralism has increased, cutting the strong concentration of ownership that previously occurred. The sale of businessman Denis O’Brien’s stake in Independent News & Media (INM), in 2019, and in Communicorp, in 2021, opened the media landscape to more competition and diversity.

The Commission on the Future of the Media, created by Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) in October 2020, published a report in 2022, in which it indicates that the government accepted 49 of the Commission's 50 recommendations, among which are the new Fund for Media and support for local journalism. However, the financing of public broadcaster RTÉ still remains unresolved.

Recently, recommendations have been published, with wide acceptance, on more precise protection of public interest journalism and the creation of anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or gag processes) mechanisms. However, the abolition of juries in defamation cases raises some concern.

Irish radio and television stations and other media outlets, particularly regional ones, continued to face severe economic difficulties in 2022. The government has not yet taken the decisive steps needed to reform the funding mechanisms for RTÉ and other media outlets.

The abolition of the crime of blasphemy in 2020 made it possible to decriminalize the publication of “blasphemous, seditious or indecent comments” and the extinction of the crime of defamation against any religion – a welcome development.

Although Irish journalists occasionally report that their safety has been threatened by criminal groups, no significant cases have been reported in 2021, although attacks against journalists on social media are a source of concern.

Since the Garda Siochána Act of 2005, police have been prohibited from speaking to journalists without prior authorization, under penalty of dismissal, a fine or up to seven years in prison.