Coincidental to the temporary silencing of a compliant Irish press by a billionaire businessman whose past dealings have become mired in controversy, the Irish Times reports on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition’s new rules on media ownership which will give:
“…the Minister for Communications power to decide if a proposed media merger is in the public interest in terms of diversity and plurality.
The media merger guidelines were published by Minister for Communications Alex White on Wednesday…”
Given that successive governments from across the political spectrum have spent three decades assuaging the selfish corporate demands of certain powerful figures in our society, I imagine the definition of “public interest” will continue to be a very malleable one indeed. But what’s this?
“There are new protections, however, for the Irish language and a requirement that members of the advisory panel have specific knowledge of the area.”
Really? So what are these supposed protections for the Irish language in the “Guidelines on Media Mergers, June 2015“?
“The Minister will also have regard to any impact of the proposed merger on the Irish language; therefore evidence of Irish language content and measures to protect its continuation or plans to introduce more lingual diversity will be considered. This
accords with the Government’s ‘20-Year Strategy For The Irish Language 2010 – 2030’, and aligns with the stated aims of ensuring increased visibility of the Irish language and ensuring that in public discourse the use of the Irish language will be, as far as practical, a choice for the citizen.”
Ah, I see. The rights of Irish-speaking citizens and communities to avail of media services in their own language from a plurality of domestic sources will be safe-guarded by the state – except when somebody somewhere decides that such rights are not “practical”. In other words, in terms of the government’s commitment to Irish rights and the promotion of our national tongue – same bullshit, different day.