News publishers call for drop in VAT to 5 per cent in 2020 Budget

‘Long overdue review of the Defamation Act’ is needed, Oireachtas committee hears

Newsbrands, the representative body for all Irish newspapers, said outdated defamation laws, high taxes and the dominance of certain online platforms were restricting the industry’s ability to produce quality journalism. File image: Getty

Newsbrands, the representative body for all Irish newspapers, said outdated defamation laws, high taxes and the dominance of certain online platforms were restricting the industry’s ability to produce quality journalism. File image: Getty

 

Representatives from across Ireland’s local and national news publishing industry have called on the Government to reduce VAT on print and digital newspapers to 5 per cent in the upcoming budget with a view to eventually reducing it to zero.

Editors, journalists and chief executives from media organisations also called for the completion of the “long overdue review of the Defamation Act” and an extension of the brief of the Minister for Communications to include all media and not just the broadcast sector.

Newsbrands, the representative body for all Irish newspapers, print and online, met members of the Oireachtas on Wednesday.

It said almost three years had passed since the review of the Defamation Act was announced, and 40 submissions had been made to the Department of Justice on the issue.

“The laws, as they currently are, have a chilling effect on democracy and a free press,” said Newsbrands in a statement.

It added that VAT on printed newspapers should be reduced to zero as was the case in Britain and other EU countries.

Chief executive of Newsbrands Ireland Ann Marie Lenihan warned that outdated defamation laws, high taxes and the dominance of certain online platforms were restricting the industry’s ability to produce quality journalism.

“At a time when there is an even greater need for citizens to have access to information produced by professional journalists, it is more important than ever that the Government demonstrates its commitment to the value of quality, legacy journalism and the public service role played by news publishers,” said Ms Lenihan.