‘‘Media Diversity: Why does it matter?” – Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 8 – Monday 6th February 2012
‘‘Media Diversity: Why does it matter” was held at a critical time in media history with the emergence and dominance of multi-national media corporations across the EU. Questions of dominance, diversity, fragmentation and the increasing challenge of new media technologies have presented serious challenges for media owners, legislators, regulators, journalists and citizens alike. The conference is timely as an Irish Government Bill dealing with regulation and media mergers was due to be published later that year.
Featuring contributions from politicians, academics and journalists the conference explored the implications for traditional notions of democratic accountability and journalistic independence where there is a lack of diversity in media ownership, asking is such diversity important? The conference also looked at whether some consolidation is necessary in order to ensure a strong indigenous Irish Media, and if online media can provide an alternative and more democratic form than traditional media.
- Regulating for Media Diversity – how effective is it? – Examination of the effectiveness of international policies for regulating the media;
- Media Ownership in Ireland – a review of the extent to which the Irish media is diverse and a discussion on the balance that needs to be struck between diversity/economic viability in order to have a strong media to hold authority to account;
- Media Diversity: a condition of democracy? – a discussion on how important, or otherwise, media diversity is to a thriving democracy;
- Murdoch Unmasked: Are the Moguls in Decline? – a presentation on the evolving situation in relation to News International and what this situation reveals, if anything, about the future for media conglomerates;
- New Media, New Voices? – a panel discussion on the extent to which new media presents an alternative forum to traditional media for new voices to emerge, or just an additional strand to the traditional media mix.
Media Diversity: why does it matter?’
09.00 Coffee and registration
09.30 Session 1 – Chair: Professor John Horgan, Press Ombudsman.
Nessa Childers MEP – Opening Address
09.40 Regulating for Media Diversity – How Effective is it?
Dr. Alison Harcourt–Exeter University, author of European Union Institutions and the Regulations of Media Markets, on regulation of traditional and new media markets at European and EU members state levels.
Discussion (20 mins)
10.20 Panel: Media Ownership in Ireland. Chair: Karen Coleman Broadcaster, Journalist & Author.
Dr Roddy Flynn – School of Communications, Dublin City University on up-to-date data on media ownership trends in Ireland.
Michael O’Keeffe, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland – on review of legislative framework regarding public interest aspects of media mergers and on proposed reform of aspects of competition law including media mergers.
Alan Crosbie – Chairman of Thomas Crosbie Holdings Ltd., and Examiner Publications (Cork) on the necessary consolidation to ensure strong indigenous Irish media.
Session 2 – Chair: Justine McCarthy, Sunday Times Senior News Writer & Columnist
11.45 Media Diversity – A Condition of Democracy?
John Lloyd, Financial Times Contributing Editor, and feature writer; co-founder of Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford; author, What The Media Are Doing To Our Politics
Dr Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies – on citizenship democracy and the media.
John Whelan, journalist, author, former newspaper editor and member of Seanad Éireann -addressing the issues of media sovereignty, more media- less information, cut and paste journalism and declining standards
Session 3 Chair: Brian Trench Dublin City University
14.00 Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
14.15 Murdoch Unmasked – Are the Moguls in Decline?
Brian Cathcart – professor of journalism, Kingston University London, founding member ‘Hacked Off’ campaign for a public inquiry into phone hacking, and former adviser to the Commons Media Committee
Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, National Union of Journalists, on defending standards, diversity and jobs in the age of media conglomerates
15.15 Panel: New Media, New Voices?
Suzy Byrne, blogger (Maman Poulet) –on her own experience of creating a new, distinctive media voice
Dr. Aphra Kerr, Department of Sociology, NUI-Maynooth – on hopes that online media can provide an alternative and more democratic forum than traditional media
Christine Bohan, Deputy Editor, The Journal.ie – on the importance of online news media as an alternative to newspapers and the broadcast media
David Cochrane – Founder of online political forum Politics.ie – on the concept behind Politics.ie and the role of (mostly) anonymous discussion, and how Politics.ie deal with moderation and defamation law.
16.00 Concluding remarks: Nessa Childers MEP