Belfast Telegraph

Ombudsman to appear before Leveson

Ireland's Press Ombudsman has been called to give evidence to the UK's Leveson Inquiry next week.

Professor John Horgan will discuss the country's two-tier model of regulation as a possible overhaul of media oversight in Britain.

The UK's Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has previously travelled across the Irish Sea to hold talks with its counterparts, the Press Council of Ireland (PCI) and the Press Ombudsman.

The Irish oversight bodies were set up just four years ago as an alternative to costly court battles and are independent of government and media.

PCI chairman Daithi O'Ceallaigh said the invitation recognised the work done by both his agency and Mr Horgan's office, and the foresight and commitment of the press industry in Ireland in supporting these structures at a time of great challenges to journalism.

Professor Horgan's evidence next Friday will be given as part of module 4 of the inquiry, which will be considering the future of press regulation in Britain.

Mr O'Ceallaigh previously revealed Lord Hunt of Wirral, chairman of the PCC, has been in Dublin for discussions centred on the potential outcome of the Leveson Inquiry.

The Press Ombudsman deals free of charge with complaints from the public, considers whether they are valid, then acts to resolve them through conciliation. Where conciliation is not possible, the ombudsman will make a decision based on the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines.

Complaints which are not resolved satisfactorily by the ombudsman, or which are significant or complex, can also be referred to the 13-member strong Press Council drawn from the public and the media industry.

The council is charged with upholding the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines and press freedom, and operates with the support and co-operation of newspaper and magazine editors and journalists.

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