Internet defamation and Irish Law

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Magee, Orlaith
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BA (Hons) in Journalism
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this dissertation is to assess the statutory protection outlined in the 2009 Defamation Act for the citizens, corporations and Internet intermediaries of Ireland in respect of Internet defamation. I will analyse the 1961 Defamation Act and note the improvements adopted into current legislation. I will also examine whether the 2009 reform offers sufficient protection and defences in instances of actions taken in respect of online defamation. I will support my claims with statements from some of Ireland’s most well respected media law experts, and solicitors from some of the country’s most prestigious law firms, as well as considering how the statute has dealt with online defamation in comparison to that of other jurisdictions. Following this, I will draw conclusions from my observations and will make suggestions for reform to bring the current legislation in line with contemporary communication and new media technologies. Because the 2009 Defamation Act was only recently enacted, there is very little available in the way of academic research and literary material relating to the subject of Internet defamation under the new statutory regulations. I believe this to be one of the first comprehensive studies of the new legislation that scrupulously examines and challenges the ethical, constitutional and commercial concerns raised by the Act’s lack of provision for modern information and communication technology.