Workers' protections paramount in safeguarding the future of Irish media
17 January 2021
In its submission to the Future of Media Commission, the Labour Party spokesperson Marie Sherlock has called on the Commission to prioritise decent employment conditions for those employed in the sector, continued protection and promotion of the State public service broadcaster, the provision of support to local and regional media and to ensure appropriate regulation of social media companies.
Publishing the submission, Labour spokesperson on media affairs, Senator Marie Sherlock, highlighted a range of proposals to protect the sector and ensure a coherent strategy for the sectors' future. Senator Sherlock said:
"The media is the cornerstone of our democracy and a fundamental tool for citizens. It encourages debate, questions political decisions and plays a vital role in educating the public. We need only look at the fundamental role the media has played in the public health crisis. The sector has played a pivotal role in educating and informing the public, as well as promoting essential public health messages throughout the crisis.
"Yet, despite this, we are living through a moment where traditional media outlets face relentless competition for audiences' attention, while concentration of ownership continues to threaten the sector's diversity. We need to address the challenges facing the sector meaningfully and strategically, and the Labour Party has set out its key recommendations in this regard."
"At the heart of any strategy to ensure that traditional media remains viable must be an emphasis on ensuring viable jobs within the sector, as well as protecting diverse voices at a regional level. There would be no media without the journalists, print workers and other paid employees who make the sector work. For the sake of our democratic and public realm, the Labour Party believes that the Government must lead the way in valuing quality journalism and protecting the workers that facilitate it.
"To promote decent work and conditions within the media sector, the Labour Party believes the Government must provide that any public funds made available to firms in receipt of State support be conditional on preventing compulsory redundancies, pay cuts or executive bonuses; prevent restriction of trade union organisations; restrict mergers, acquisitions or leveraged buyouts which result in job losses or pay cuts; and, to ensure a minimum of 25% employee membership of Boards of media firms. The Labour Party fully supports the National Union of Journalists in their call for these conditions to be set down in a Recovery Plan for the News Industry in Ireland.
"Within our submission we also address the role of our national public service broadcaster, the importance of supporting local and regional media, and the need for appropriate regulation of social media companies.”
The submission in full can be read at: https://www.labour.ie/download/pdf/2021_jan_8th_future_of_media_commision_submission.pdf