Ireland’s Office of the Press Ombudsman Uses Mediation to Resolve Press Complaints
The Office of the Press Ombudsman in Ireland has reported that last year, one-third of all of its disputes were successfully resolved through conciliation or mediation. As an agency established to ensure the public’s access to an independent press, the Office of the Press Ombudsman processes complaints from the public to determine whether such complaints are valid. If so, the Office of the Press Ombudsman works to resolve the complaints through mediation, when possible, following the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines.
According to Professor John Horgan of the Press Ombudsman, the system of regulation that has been put into place in Ireland has been “bedded down well,” as an increasing number of complaints are being resolved through conciliation and mediation. Horgan, who was personally involved in making a decision regarding 40 complaints last year, also mentioned that publications produced under the auspices of the Press Council were “continually improving their internal systems of complaint handling.”
The Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman have been established within Ireland for five years. Within that time, the offices have received approximately 2,000 complaints, with 575 complaints received last year alone. 250 of those 575 complaints were concerning two articles that were published.
Professor Horgan stated, "Whereas the total volume of complaints can often float up or down, the total number of complaints resolved, either by determination, conciliation or mediation, is probably the best guide to the work we do."
This work is not limited to hard print journalism but also extends to all forms of digital journalism that is published within the country. According to Daithi O'Ceallaigh, chairman of the Press Council, such publications should be judged by the same criteria as hard print.