For the first time main source of News for Irish public is Online rather than Television – Digital News Report Ireland 2024

Significant increase in the number of people aged 18-24 paying for digital news content.

More people in Ireland consume their news online than through any other medium, including television. This is the first time that news online has become more popular than television news in Ireland according to the annual Digital News Report Ireland.

The report, to be published today by Coimisiún na Meán, also reveals that the number of Irish news consumers who paid to access news content increased in 2024.  This was especially true for 18 – 24-year-olds where an increase of seven percentage points, up to 26% from 19%, in people paying for digital news content was recorded.

The study also found that there is evidence of real concern about what is real/what is fake online, with the number of people expressing concern up seven percentage points since 2023 (71%).

Commenting, Media Development Commissioner for Coimisiún na Meán, Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “It is encouraging to see that overall trust in news remains high in Ireland compared to other international regions, this year 46% of respondents reported that they can trust most news most of the time. The continuing trend toward news consumption online presents both opportunities and challenges for the media in Ireland. This year’s Digital News Report Ireland serves as a valuable dataset, to help ensure that the transition to news online is implemented in a structured and successful manner.”

“Coimisiún na Meán’s support for journalism in Ireland continues. We recently concluded a public consultation on two new journalism schemes supporting high quality coverage, in both Irish and English, of local authorities and Circuit and District Court hearings. These schemes, and an ancillary funding measure, are due to commence this summer financed by a fund of €6 million allocated from the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Catherine Martin TD.” 

Research for the Digital News Report is undertaken by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and is the largest ongoing comparative study of news consumption in the world. The Irish data forms part of the larger survey, which this year is conducted in 47 markets. Ireland’s participation has been facilitated this year by Coimisiún na Meán, Ireland’s commission for regulating broadcasters, on-demand services and online media, and supporting media development. Analysis of the Irish data is provided by researchers from the DCU Institute for Future Media, Democracy and Society (FuJo).

Key findings from this year’s report include:

Interest in News: Irish consumers retain their interest in news. Some 88% of respondents were either ‘extremely’, ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ interested in news. This is higher than in the UK (82%), the US (84%), or when measured against the European average (85%).  However, if only the two categories of ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ interested in news, are selected, then there is a significant difference between those who are aged 18-24, who register at 30% and those who are 65+, who register at 73%. There are also major differences between the genders with men registering 61% (extremely’ or ‘very’ interested in news), and women 46% (extremely’ or ‘very’ interested in news). 

Trust in News: Trust in news is down slightly overall, but selected outlets have seen a rise in their percentage points.  At the top of this ranking, RTÉ (+1pp) and The Irish Times (+2pp) remain the most trusted outlets.

Source of News: For the first time ‘online, excluding social media’ (33%) has overtaken TV viewing (31%) as ‘the main source of news’.

Paying for News: There has been an increase of two percentage points (from 15% to 17%) among Irish news consumers who have paid to access news content in 2024. News subscriber numbers are behind the US, but ahead of the UK and European average. There has been a significant increase of seven percentage points in the number of people aged 18-24 paying for digital news content.

Artificial Intelligence: 44% of respondents say they have read or heard a ‘large’ or ‘moderate’ amount about AI. A further 41% say they know ‘a small amount’ and 10% say they know ‘nothing at all’. 56% of media consumers are uncomfortable with news being produced ‘mostly by AI’ with only ‘some human oversight’.

False or misleading information: Respondents said they had seen the most false or misleading information in the previous week about the Israel-Palestine conflict (38%). This increased to 43% among the under 35s. Coverage of immigration was close behind, with 37% (38% for over 35s).

Professor Colleen Murrell of the FuJo Institute also commented on the report adding: “Misinformation and disinformation are growing and in this report, we ask a series of questions to establish how difficult people find it to verify the online news that they read. In order to unpack the data on current media issues, we often dig deeper to understand the differences caused by age, gender and education. While it is usual to find that younger people are more at ease with online challenges, older people often surprise with their ability to adapt to new sources of information.”

The Digital News Report Ireland 2024 can be found here. The infographic illustrating some key findings of the report is available here.

Global online safety regulators map out vision to improve international coordination

More countries also join regulatory network as cross-border collaboration continues to grow

Online safety regulators from around the world have today outlined their vision for how international regulatory approaches to online safety can be more coherent and coordinated.  

The Global Online Safety Regulators Network brings together 18 regulators and observers from five continents. The Network has today published its second position statement on how regulators will work together to address the global nature of online safety regulation.

While each of the countries in the Network has its own domestic online safety regime, neither the risks people face online nor the online services they use are confined to national or continental borders. For those reasons, we are working together on developing our regulatory capability and approaches, to achieve the outcomes set out in our respective online safety rules.

Although our regulatory regimes differ in some ways, our frameworks are similar in several key respects.

By mapping the similarities in our regulatory remits, the Network has identified opportunities in multiple areas to pursue coherence between our respective regimes. These include:

  • Regulatory tools: We will aim to develop common metrics for our risk assessment methodologies and evaluation approaches, to minimise unwarranted divergences between them.
  • User complaints: Those of us collecting user complaints will share our experience and evidence. Where there are instances of systemic non-compliance across jurisdictions, the Network might consider working more closely on investigations and enforcement action.
  • Information requests: We will aim to produce more comparable global data that better informs our trend analysis, by coordinating in relation to the types of questions we ask of industry as part of our regulatory activities
  • Safety measures: We will aim to identify a common set of reasonable steps services can take to address specific harms and risk factors by drawing on our experiences of good practice

Online Safety Commissioner for Coimisiún na Meán, Niamh Hodnett, said: “Working in partnership with our fellow global regulators is critical to help us reach our goal of making the online space safer for all users. Since the internet has no borders, our joint activities and workstreams with online safety regulators around the world enable us to share learnings and foster a coherent regulatory framework.”

Notes: 

The Global Online Safety Regulators Network is a collaboration between the first movers in online safety regulation. The Network paves the way for a coherent international approach to online safety regulation, by enabling online safety regulators to share insights, experience and best practices.  

Current Network members include: 

Members share a commitment to act independently of commercial and political influence and adhere to objective criteria for respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The Network is also open to observers – specifically organisations that have expertise and interest with online safety regulation and who wish to follow and engage with the Network. 

Current observers include: 

For further information about the Global Online Safety Regulators Network please contact the current Chair, Ofcom at ofcom.international@ofcom.org.uk.

Coimisiún na Meán publishes Information Pack for all election candidates

Coimisiún na Meán has today (23.05.2024) published an Information Pack for all election candidates in the upcoming Local and European elections. The aim of this pack is to provide information on the role of Coimisiún na Meán and to offer guidance for candidates on what to do when they are faced with harmful and/or illegal content online. The Pack includes further information on the rights of users under the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the reporting channels for various platforms.

The information pack will be shared with political parties and is also available on the Coimisiún na Meán website here and across An Coimisiún’s social media channels, for candidates to access easily. Coimisiún na Meán recognises that during election times, candidates are at an increased risk of suffering online harm. Under the DSA, very large online platforms and search engines have a duty to assess risks that their services may pose. This includes a risk to civic discourse and the electoral process. The main message for Coimisiún na Meán to election candidates is to report content they think is illegal or a breach of a platform’s own rules directly to the platform. Following that, if candidates believe that the platforms have not actioned illegal content once reported, they can make a complaint to Coimisiún na Meán via the contact centre. Any immediate threats or risks to life should be reported straight to the Gardaí.

As part of Coimisiún na Meán’s commitment to ensure a thriving, diverse, creative, trusted, and safe media landscape we want to ensure that a variety of voices and opinions to be heard during election times, and which support the agency of voters to make a free and informed choice. This is done in a number of ways, including through the regulation of broadcasters by way of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality and the regulation of online platforms through An Coimisiún’s Online Safety Framework, principally the Digital Services Act.

Coimisiún na Meán will ensure that online platforms are responsible for how they enforce their own policies and how they meet their DSA obligations. The June elections will be the first to take place since An Coimisiún commenced the role of Digital Services Coordinator in February this year.

Latest JNLR figures released

The latest JNLR/Ipsos MRBI report into radio listening is published today (16.05.24).

On behalf of the JNLR Committee, a media release and summary information tables are available to download here.

ENDS

Please note:

Media queries regarding individual programme or station performance should be directed to IPSOS MRBI or the relevant broadcaster.

Extended Deadline – Consultation on Draft Journalism Schemes

On the 4th April 2024, Coimisiún na Meán published a consultation document seeking views on two new journalism schemes.

Following requests from industry organisations, An Coimisiún has agreed to extend the deadline for responses to the consultation. The new closing date for the receipt of submissions is now 8th May at 5pm.

You can make your submission here:

Coimisiún na Meán awards €8.6m of funding for broadcasters and independent producers under Sound & Vision Scheme

A total of €70 million provided by Scheme in past 5 years

  • €7.9m will support the production of 65 high-quality TV and radio projects, including animation, drama, documentary, entertainment, and educational programmes, with 95% of funding for independent producers.
  • €706k will support community broadcasters in creating social benefit programming that facilitates better access to and representation of the diversity of local communities in Ireland.

Coimisiún na Meán has announced the allocation of €8.6m of funding for broadcasters and independent producers arising from two recent rounds of Sound & Vision 4, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme. The Scheme supports the production of high-quality Irish and English language programming, based on Irish culture, heritage, and experience for broadcast on national, local and community TV and radio services.

Media Development Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “Sound & Vision remains a vital funding source for broadcasters and independent producers from all over Ireland and brings the total amount of funding allocated by the Scheme to over €70 million since 2020. Sound & Vision funding boosts Ireland’s creative sector, bringing to life television, radio and film content in both the Irish and English languages. I would like to thank Minister Catherine Martin for her continued support of the Scheme and all those applicants who submitted proposals, and we look forward to seeing the programmes hit our screens and airwaves.

“This latest allocation of €8.6 million will enable independent producers and broadcasters to create engaging and thought-provoking content that resonates with audiences across Ireland. The programming produced will celebrate our cultural and linguistic heritage, amplify voices from marginalized communities, and explore underrepresented perspectives.”

Round 51

A total of 165 applications seeking over €18.8m in funding were submitted for consideration under Round 51 of the Sound & Vision 4 scheme, with just over €7.9m in funding awarded. This Round includes additional exchequer funding secured by Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media, Catherine Martin TD.

Round 51 will support the production of 65 TV and radio projects for audiences around the country, with €6.7m allocated to 27 TV projects, and over €1.1m for 38 radio productions. This Round focused on programming about gender equality, diversity, and inclusion of new Irish communities and voices.

Nearly 35% of the recommended funding (€2.7m) will support the production of Irish/bilingual projects, and 95% of the funding (€7.4m) goes directly to the independent production sector.

Some notable projects funded in Round 51 include:

  • An Irish Atlantic Rainforest: This two-part documentary production by Gambit Pictures for RTÉ One, will follow a year in the life of Ireland’s most pristine temperate rainforest which has been created by Eoghan Daltun, in the face of a global environmental crisis and biodiversity loss.
  • This is a Quiet Love/An Grá Ciúin: Produced by Curious North for TG4, this bilingual feature-length documentary will find four deaf couples sign the stories of how they met and fell in love. These cinematic love letters will weave a tapestry of deaf experience over a 70-year period.
  • Irish Music Month: A radio production for Hot Press, operated by the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) which showcases and celebrates the best of new and upcoming musical talent, will be broadcast on 21 local commercial radio stations around Ireland.
  • Echo Eco: This series of hour-long programmes by Newstalk will explore climate change and environmental issues and will be hosted by renowned environmental scientist Dr Tara Shine.
  • Blúiríní Osnádúrtha: An Irish-language radio production for Raidió na Life which will see volunteers research and record Irish ghost stories from Dublin and beyond.
  • Alternatyva Alternayvai: A television production for Dublin Community Television which will follow an opera production while celebrating Lithuanian culture.
  • Video Nasty: Produced by Deadpan Pictures, this comedy-drama tells the story of three teenagers who go on an epic quest to complete a cult VHS collection and will be broadcast on Virgin Media Television. 
  • Adam Loves Adventure: This comedy-themed quest show for pre-schoolers is set in space and stars real-life hero Adam King, a problem-solving space explorer whose prime directive is to use his big heart and space smarts to help aliens with their everyday problems. Produced by Kavaleer for broadcast on RTÉjnr. 
  • Grá ar an Trá: Produced by Macalla Teoranta, entertainment series Grá ar an Trá returns for a second season on Virgin Media Television.
  • Am Abú: A new innovative Irish language programme produced by Wonder Pics for kids. The historical drama series for TG4 will look to encourage media literacy and be the first production to use an Unreal Engine Virtual Reality workflow.

Round 52

Round 52 of the Sound & Vision 4 Scheme was a tailored Social Benefit Round and was informed by the Community Media Policy and Social Benefit Framework launched in 2021.The funding under this non-competitive round was allocated to community broadcasters who adequately demonstrated how they would better facilitate access to and representation of their respective communities and help increase the range of community participation in the production and distribution of broadcast content. The funding round also had a particular focus on community broadcasters providing programming and quality training and development opportunities for station staff and volunteers.

The funding will support a range of activities across 19 stations, including the following activities:

  • Ros FM will build on training previously funded by Sound & Vision and offer QQI level 4 training to approximately 20 volunteers.
  • Athlone Community Radio will deliver QQI level 3 & 4 training to staff, volunteers, and community groups.
  • Community Radio Youghal will use funding to undertake increased engagement with their local community service, St Raphael’s, a local facility for adults with disabilities.
  • Funding forCommunity Radio Castlebar will be used to further develop their engagement with Spéire Nua, a group that works with ex-offenders and the Involve Youth Project which works with Traveller youth.
  • Funding will be used by Flirt FM to continue its successful ‘Community Takeover’ initiative, which has opened the airwaves to a range of community groups such as Foróige and Galway Autism Partnership by allowing them to produce and host their own programmes.

This is the fourth Social Benefit Round operated by the Scheme and brings the total amount of funding offered directly to Community broadcasters through the Social Benefit Rounds to €2.5m.

A list of successful applications is available here (Round 51) and here (Round 52).

Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme Round 53 Open

Coimisiún na Meán has opened Round 53 of the Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme today (09.04.2024). An Coimisiún welcomes funding applications from broadcasters and independent producers to support the production of culturally valuable broadcast content, including content in the Irish language. 

Round 53 will have an additional objective to encourage projects that support the production of content targeted at or co-created by children and young people.

Prospective applicants can access the relevant Guides and Forms for Round 53 via the links below.  All applications must be submitted via www.cnamonline.ie.

Television Application Documentation

Radio Application Documentation

The Round will close at 12 noon sharp on 30 May 2024. An indicative budget of €7.4m is available under this Round.

An Coimisiún will run separate Radio and TV Zoom webinars for prospective applicants.

  • Please register here to attend the applicant webinar at 11am on the 16th of April 2024.

Two journalism schemes worth €5 million open for consultation

Local Democracy and Court Reporting Schemes will support both the media sector and high-quality journalism in all counties in Ireland

Coimisiún na Meán is seeking the public’s views on two new journalism schemes which aim to supplement and increase coverage of local authorities and district court hearings. The schemes are being established to ensure that all people have access to news in their own areas and that the news they receive is trustworthy and accurate.  

The Schemes are based on recommendations from the Report of the Future of Media Commission and are being established on an administrative basis thanks to funding secured by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Catherine Martin TD.

The new journalism schemes will be open to applications from journalists and media outlets, including broadcast, print and online platforms, in both the Irish and English languages. Coimisiún na Meán will ensure that all content funded under the Schemes is available in both Irish and English on an online portal, where the content will also be archived. 

Commenting on the launch of the consultation on the proposed schemes, Media Development Commissioner at Coimisiún na Meán, Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “The €5 million available under these Schemes will ensure that local media can continue to perform its vital role in reporting on matters of public interest and improving access to trusted, quality information. They will support the creation of high-quality public interest journalism in both Irish and English, strengthening plurality, supporting the resilience of the news media sectors and enabling free and open debate on matters of public interest and importance as well as participation in democratic society by informed citizens. I would like to thank Minister Catherine Martin for her support for these Schemes.”

Coimisiún na Meán is now inviting views on the proposed approach to both Schemes as part of a public consultation process. Information on the consultation processes can be found here:

Coimisiún na Meán will finalise and launch the Schemes after the consultation.

Coimisiún na Meán allocates almost €800k in funding to support a range of media activities

50 projects supported under Sectoral Learning and Development Programme and Sponsorship Scheme

A creative media programme focusing on young people from under-represented, low income and ethnic minorities (Gorm Media’s Wideshot programme) and a talent development network addressing the lack of gender diversity in the Irish screen industry (X-Pollinator) are among the projects to be funded under Coimisiún na Meán’s Sectoral Learning and Development Programme and Sponsorship Scheme.

Both funding programmes support organisations, networks and representative groups to deliver a range of initiatives, training programmes, events and activities across the media sector. In all, almost €800k has been awarded to 50 projects this year.

Some €550k has been allocated under the Sectoral Learning and Development Programme to enhance media sustainability, creativity and diversity. Nineteen networks, representing commercial and community media; industry specific groups such as producers, animators, and journalists; advocacy organisations for gender, equality and inclusion, and promotion of the Irish language, have secured funding.

The Learning Waves Journalism Graduate Programme will continue to be supported under the Sectoral Learning and Development Programme in 2024. This programme sees 10 journalism graduates from across Ireland awarded an internship in a local commercial radio station. A focus of the 2024 programme will be news content for multiple platforms, scriptwriting for news, court reporting, and the promotion and creating of Irish language content.

Separately, more than €245k in funding has been awarded to 30 applicants under Coimisiún na Meán’s Sponsorship Scheme. This supports media-related events and activities that align with and raise awareness of the role and work of An Coimisiún. Sponsored events include festivals that increase the prominence of culturally relevant audiovisual content for Irish audiences, and award ceremonies highlighting the diverse talent and creativity across the media sector.  Sponsored events focusing on other aspects of Coimisiún na Meán’s remit include a media literacy workshop, the Mental Health Media Awards, and a Children & Young People’s Assembly on Online Bullying.

Commenting, Media Development Commissioner Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “Coimisiún na Meán is delighted to be in a position to invest more than three-quarters of a million euro in supporting Irish media through the Sectoral Learning and Development Programme and Sponsorship Scheme this year.

The funded projects align with our aim to develop a thriving, diverse and safe media landscape. These are hugely valuable projects that work to enrich our media sphere for viewers and listeners “

Commenting on its funding allocation, Learning Waves Project Manager Teresa Hanratty said: “We are thrilled to have secured funding again this year for our Journalism Graduate Programme. An Coimisiún’s funding and development programmes are of huge importance to the media sector and our award this year enables us to continue our internship programme, providing a pathway for new journalists to gain invaluable experience and also a pipeline of new talent for the independent radio sector. The impact of the programme was recognised by the Institute of Learning and Development at Learning and Development Awards in September 2023 when it was awarded Best Graduate Development Initiative. This award underlines the significant impact this programme has on graduates and stations across the Independent Radio Sector in Ireland.” The full list of successful funding recipients for 2024 under the Coimisiún na Meán Sectoral Learning and Development Programme and Sponsorship Scheme can be found here.

European Commission proceedings against Tik Tok for possible breaches of EU Digital Services Act

Coimisiún na Meán is aware that the European Commission has initiated formal proceedings against Tik Tok for possible breaches of the Digital Services Act (DSA). Coimisiún na Meán will provide assistance to the European Commission in this investigation.

Coimisiún na Meán is Ireland’s body for regulating broadcasters, on-demand services, and online media, and supporting media development. On Saturday last (17.02.2024) An Coimisiún welcomed the application of the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) which is now fully in force in Ireland. The DSA provides new rules for how online services deal with illegal content or apply their own rules.

Under the DSA, the responsibility for supervising Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines is shared between the European Commission and the regulator of the EU Member State where the service has its EU headquarters. Thirteen out of twenty two Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines designated so far, including Tik Tok, have their EU headquarters in Ireland.

Coimisiún na Meán is working closely with the European Commission and other European regulators and today (19.02.2024) attended the inaugural meeting of the European Digital Services Board. The European Board for Digital Services Board is an independent advisory group formed by the European Commission and Member State Digital Service Coordinators, to ensure that the DSA is applied consistently, and that users across the EU enjoy the same rights, regardless of where the online platforms are established.

The Board will be consulted on the enforcement of the DSA and advise on arising issues related to the DSA and can contribute to guidelines and analysis. It will also assist in the supervision of Very Large Online Platforms and Very Large Online Search Engines and will issue yearly reports on the prominent systemic risks and best practices in mitigating them.