Media and Defamation

Carson McDowell has one of Northern Ireland’s strongest Media Law Teams. We provide both contentious and non-contentious advice on all aspects of media law. We provide a comprehensive service for media organisations in regulation, content advice and litigation. The team provides media law advice from the outset of planned source investigations through to the pre broadcast or print copy and broadcast stage.

Our defendant-focused media litigation team handles a wide range of developing issues for our clients including online disputes as well as commercial and competition litigation affecting media companies. We provide regulatory advice in relation to Ofcom, ATVOD and the PCC. Carson McDowell act for the biggest selling tabloid newspaper in Ireland, as well as book publishers, broadcasters, football associations, churches and online publishers.

What we do

We are specialists at dealing with a range of media issues including:

  • Broadcasting
  • Defamation
  • Privacy
  • Reputation Management
  • Contempt of Court
  • Anonymity Orders
  • Reporting restrictions
  • PACE
  • Production Orders
  • Interim and final injunctions
  • Data Protection
  • Freedom of Information
  • Intellectual Property
  • New Media / internet law
  • Publishing and Pre-Publication Advice

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

What the team is known for

Assists publishers, broadcasters and social media platforms on commercial agreements, IP protection and regulatory issues. Also recommended for advice on pre-publication and reporting restrictions.

Strengths

A client says: "We find their expertise in the field and their positioning within the local marketplace extremely helpful."

Work highlights

Advised Bauer Media Group on a range of regulatory, licensing and advertising issues in relation to online and radio content.

Notable practitioners

Olivia O'Kane advises on IP, pre-publication and media regulation. A client says: "She is always contactable, she's a listener and she explains things in terms we as a media company will understand."

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

What the team is known for

Superb defamation practice focused on media defence. Acts for a number of the leading Northern Ireland publications, as well as broadcasters, social media providers, high net worth individuals and politicians. Also provides comprehensive brand management advisory and pre-publication services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They took a straightforward, direct approach, demonstrating thoroughness and reliability."

Work highlights

Acted for Facebook in the first litigated revenge porn civil proceeding brought in Northern Ireland.

Acted for Sunday Newspapers in a dispute over an allegedly defamatory article. At issue was the use of the word "Scrooge" – the first case concerning the journalistic defence of reportage to be litigated in the jurisdiction.

Notable practitioners

Head of media Olivia O'Kane is an experienced practitioner, with expertise in defamation, data protection, privacy law and reporting restrictions. One client describes her as “prompt in her responses and practical in her advice,” while another describes her as “one of the most established practitioners in privacy and defamation.”

Fergal McGoldrick represents a good choice of solicitor for local, regional and national publishers, particularly in matters involving defamation, privacy and data protection issues.

Significant clients

Twitter, Bauer Media, Alpha News Group, KRW Law, ITV.

Chambers and Partners UK 2017

What the team is known for

Superb defamation practice focused on media defence. Acts for a number of the leading Northern Ireland publications, as well as broadcasters, corporates and other media organisations. Also provides comprehensive pre-publication services.

Strengths

"For defamation, privacy and media law advice, Carson McDowell have, in my view, few peers in Belfast."

Work highlights

Defended Sunday Newspapers in proceedings initiated by Colin Fulton.

Acting on behalf of Independent News & Media in a libel action brought by former MP George Galloway.

Notable practitioners

Olivia O'Kane is noted for her prowess in the field of defamation and privacy law. Sources describe her as "a terrific lawyer who provides insightful advice," and is known to be "tactically very astute."

Experienced media and defamation lawyer Fergal McGoldrick is much relied upon by national and regional publications. Clients say: "His advice always proves invaluable."

Significant clients

Twitter, UTV, Alpha News Group, Associated Newspapers, Telegraph Media Group.

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