Four complaints in relation to children upheld by Press Ombudsman

The council has welcomed a review of the Defamation Act

Four complaints in relation to children upheld by Press Ombudsman

The Irish Daily Mail had one complaint upheld against it | Image:

Nine complaints were upheld by the Press Ombudsman last year.

The annual report of the Press Council of Ireland and Office of the Press Ombudsman shows that 261 complaints were received in 2016.

This is down from 278 in the previous year.

The complaints related to articles published in national and local newspapers, magazines and online-only news publications.

Four of the upheld complaints related to the publication of photographs of an infant accompanying court proceedings.

This was upheld against a number of paper and online publications.

The Ombudsman found it was a breach of Principle 9, which involves restrictions around information or comment of a child under the age of 16.

Another complaint found a publication had used a photograph of a politician in an article about a criminal charge against another person.

Other complaints upheld related to Truth and Accuracy and Privacy - including where a house was identifiable in a story on criminal activity.

The Press Ombudsman made 23 decisions, down from 34 the previous year.

Speaking at the launch, Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney said publications are "largely compliant" with the Code of Practice.

Seán Donlon, the Chair of the Press Council, welcomed a review of the Defamation Act which is currently taking place.

He said: "Reforms suggested by the Press Council and others would result in the possibility of lesser financial court settlements and more frequent use by complainants of the machinery of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council".

Communications Minister Denis Naughten said that the Government was considering how best to ensure the maintenance of standards in online social media sites.

He said the example of the structures of the Press Council could provide a template.