From The Examiner:

A new project which will allow the public to see who owns media organisations in Ireland and detailing their connections with individuals will be launched today.

Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) Ireland will be the first of its kind in the EU and is being supported by Coimisiún na Meán, the new media regulator. MOM will be available as a website, with the database highlighting connections between Irish media outlets (print, broadcast and online) and other individuals and institutions whether through friendship, family or business connections.

The MOM study found a number of what they say are “hidden concentrations” in some news content provision. It is a joint project of Dublin City University and the German-based Global Media Registry which will be co-funded by the EU.

All research results are available to the general public via the website, which includes a searchable database of media companies, outlets and owners, profile pages for each of them, and a trove of accessible information about the Irish media industry overall.

Some key findings from the study include:

  • The radio market may be “less diverse than the operation of more than 30 commercial stations alongside RTÉ suggests”, with the majority of stations serviced for their national and international news by Bauer Media Ireland.
  • A succession of printing press closures means that almost all Irish-facing national papers now rely on just two operations, that are owned by the Irish Times and Webprint.
  • In television, Sky Television’s suite of channels cumulatively account for 7% of the audiences in Ireland but Sky Media also sells advertising space in Ireland on behalf of more than 20 other channels owned by, amongst others, the BBC, Warner Bros-Discovery and Paramount.

Research lead of the MOM Ireland Dr Roderick Flynn said: “The findings do not constitute a clear and present danger to media pluralism and diversity in Ireland. But they do highlight concentrations of media power not always referenced in Irish debates about regulating direct media ownership.”

Coimisiún na Meán — Ireland’s new commission for regulating broadcasters and online media — will financially support the further development and updating of MOM over the coming three years.

Its broadcasting commissioner Celene Craig said: “The MOM project is a valuable resource, providing key information and data on the ownership of individual media outlets, as well as relevant context and insight into the broader media landscape to inform greater understanding and discussion on issues of media plurality and concentration.

“We are delighted to support the further development of Ireland’s Media Ownership Monitor and the increased transparency it brings to control and influence in the Irish media sphere. We look forward to its ongoing development over the next three years.“

MOM’s publication comes during the same period where a new EU act will be implemented at a national level in Ireland. The Digital Safety Act was introduced in November — with laws now requiring very large online platforms and search engines to do more to tackle illegal content and risks to public security, and to protect their services against manipulative techniques.

Legislation was brought forward to allow for the act to come into effect in Ireland this month. A DCU spokesperson explained: “This happens as a response to the digital transition of the industry and aims at regulating social media platforms, sustaining quality journalism and fighting disinformation. MOM Ireland is the first of its kind in any country in the European Union.”