Index 2024
8/ 180
Score : 85.59
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
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Index 2023
2/ 180
Score : 89.91
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
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The overall climate for press freedom in Ireland is positive, with journalists able to work freely and without interference. Concerns remain, however, about the future funding of the media, including public service broadcaster RTÉ.

Media landscape

Media ownership in Ireland has historically been highly concentrated, to the detriment of press freedom, but recent years have seen a welcome transition towards greater pluralism. Businessman Denis O’Brien’s sale of shares in Independent News & Media (INM) in 2019 and Communicorp in 2021 has opened up the media landscape to greater competition and diversity.

Political context

The Future of Media Commission, established by the Dáil Éireann (the Irish Assembly) in October 2020, published its long-awaited report in 2022. The government accepted 49 of the commission’s 50 recommendations, which include a new Media Fund and support for reporting on local democracy. However, a key question surrounding funding for public service broadcaster RTÉ remains unresolved, with an outcry about RTÉ salaries complicating the debate. 

Legal framework

A broadly welcomed report recommending more specific protection for public interest journalism and the creation of mechanisms for combatting SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) was supposed to be turned into a bill in 2024. But there were some concerns around the abolition of juries in defamation cases. The main opposition party, Sinn Fein, was criticised for highjacking defamation proceedings to muzzle journalists. 

Economic context

Irish broadcasters and other media outlets, especially regional newspapers, have continued to experience major financial problems in recent years. The government still hasn’t taken the decisive steps needed to reform the funding mechanisms for RTÉ and other news outlets. 

Sociocultural context

Journalists in Ireland are largely free to work without significant cultural constraints. The abolition of blasphemy by referendum in 2018, which took effect in 2020, made it possible to decriminalise the publication of “blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter” and to abolish the offence of defamation of any religion – welcome progress.


On occasion, Irish journalists have reported that their safety has been threatened by criminal groups, but no significant cases have been reported in recent years. There are some concerns about attacks on journalists on social media. Interviewing police sources has been virtually impossible since the Garda Siochana Act of 2005, which prohibits law enforcement from speaking to journalists without prior authorisation, under penalty of dismissal, a fine or up to seven years in prison.