Adverse Media Coverage

Any organisation can experience adverse media coverage and most will at some point. This coverage can be fair scrutiny that holds them to account. However, often such coverage can be ill informed, untrue and without backup or foundation. It can also be defamatory.

In this age of instant news reporting and public online debate, the reputations of those being discussed is of key concern. Technological innovation has transformed journalism and the dissemination of news which is now delivered instantaneously, in bite sized chunks of information, often without legal checks.

Our media team has unrivalled knowledge and experience in protecting the interests of our clients in anticipation of or following the publication of comment, be it in print, online or broadcast.

Our immediate reaction to developing situations will help you protect your organisation’s reputation from adverse risk, both from the traditional media and other quarters such as disgruntled ex-employees and social media. We can advise you on defamation and privacy issues including threats to publish allegations or commercially sensitive information and can secure the removal of material from websites and other online platforms. 

We are adept at employing means to identify authors of online content allowing our clients to challenge content and ensure removal. This includes the employment of Court Orders which can compel the disclosure of details to identify the web-users concerned where there is a clear case of online defamation.

Defamation Awards in Ireland

Given the change in defamation legislation in the UK, which now requires the Plaintiff to prove serious harm before a finding of defamation can be made, Ireland is increasingly seen as a more favourable jurisdiction for parties seeking defamation awards.

1Case Study 1

Our specialist team advised in the seminal privacy case in Ireland (Michelle Herrity -v- Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited) which was an action for breach of the Plaintiff’s constitutional right to privacy where the newspaper had published transcripts of illegally obtained recordings of phone calls.

 

5Case Study 2

Our client, a leading fuel and convenience brand was contacted by a current affairs programme asking for a comment in relation to an investigation they were conducting into fuel quality. It transpired that the programme intended showing footage of a branded service station of our client. We sought undertakings that the current affairs programme would not show any footage of our client’s logo, branding or anything that could identify our client with the allegations that were being made. We drafted a statement to the current affairs programme on behalf of our client. We also reminded the programme makers of their obligations under the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Code of Fairness. Objectivity and impartiality in news and current affairs and their responsibilities of fairness and responsible journalism.

We have also advised high net worth individuals in relation to media criticism achieving front page apologies from national newspapers.

 

Legal Professional Privilege

Protecting your reputation with legal professional privilege. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Reputational challenges can strike any business at any time and the consequences of unsuccessfully dealing with these challenges can be severe and can potentially lead to the total and irreversible destruction of the business’ value. When a reputational crisis does strike management will very often be required to deal with critical reputational issues of which they have no prior experience. We have helped many of our clients prepare for and successfully navigate these challenges and whatever the reputational challenge our clients face we have the skills and experience to help.

The following are examples of our recent work:

  • Acting for a major financial institution in connection with the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry
  • Providing advice to various current and former executives of regulated financial institutions in connection with appearances at public hearings of Oireachtas Committees
  • Advising numerous clients on litigation readiness techniques such as the development and implementation of systems for the preservation and subsequent identification, collation and reproduction of large volumes of sensitive confidential data
  • Acting for a large professional services firm who suffered substantial financial loss as a result of the fraudulent activities of an employee of a firm engaged by our client to provide property services
  • Advising various regulated financial service providers on inspections, investigations and enforcement actions by the Central Bank of Ireland
  • Advising various public companies in connection with investigations by the Takeover Panel
  • Advising various clients in connection with audits and actions by the Data Protection Commissioner
  • Establishing and operating a highly confidential internal investigation into alleged criminal staff misconduct on behalf of a global software provider which involved the carrying out of sensitive interviews, the provision of advice in relation to disciplinary actions against senior employees and compliance with statutory law enforcement notification requirements
  • Advising private clients in connection with two separate cartel investigations by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (formerly the Competition Authority)
  • Acting for various clients in relation to defamation proceedings
  • Acting in the first case to consider the law in Ireland relating to privacy, which is regarded as a seminal decision.

Post-fact Fact: A stray 'like', Share or Retweet Could Land You in Court

Cases involving Trump, a British Conservative peer and a Swiss activist highlight the dangers and legal risks of defaming someone on social media.


Calls for Online News Services to Face Regulation

The Government is considering ways to maintain standards in online news and social media.


Delay can Defeat the taking of a Defamation Claim

A recent High Court decision illustrates that Plaintiffs bear the burden of explaining a delay in taking a defamation claim


Supreme Court Reserves Judgment In Overturn of Defamation Award of €900,000

Scrutiny of awards of high damages and role of juries in defamation cases


Offer of Amends: Claim for Damages to be Determined by Jury Where Parties Cannot Agree on Figure

A recent Court of Appeal decision has affirmed the right to a jury trial in respect of determination of damages following an offer of amends


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Key Contacts

Fiona Barry Partner

Sinead Keavey Partner

Lisa Carty Partner