Ireland - Media

All postal, telegraph, telex, and telephone services are controlled and operated by the government through the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. In 2001 there were approximately 1.6 million main line telephones in use with an additional 2 million mobile cellular phones. An autonomous public corporation, Radio Telefis Éireann, is the Irish national broadcasting organization; on 1 January 1976, this service celebrated 50 years of operation. Ireland's second radio service, Raidio na Gaeltachta, an Irish language broadcast, was inaugurated in 1972; it broadcasts VHF from County Galway. As of 1998, there were 9 AM and 106 FM radio stations. In 2001, at least 43 stations were independent. In 2001 there were 4 television stations. In 2000 there were 7695 radios and 399 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 177 of every 1,000 people subscribed to cable television. The same year, there were about 359 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people, with 22 Internet service providers serving about1.25 million users in 2001.

In 2001, there were eight independent national newspapers, as well as many local newspapers. There were three major independent current affairs magazines along with hundreds of special interest magazines. Ireland's major newspapers, with political orientation and estimated 2002 circulation, are as follows:


Sunday Independent Fine Gael 310,500
Sunday World Independent 229,000
I rish Independent Fine Gael 168,200
Irish Times Independent 119,200
Irish Examiner NA 63,600
Cork Evening Echo Fine Gael 28,800

Waterford, Limerick, Galway, and many other smaller cities and towns have their own newspapers, most of them weeklies.

The Constitution provides for free speech and a free press; however, government bodies may decree without public hearing or justification any material unfit for distribution on moral grounds. The Office of Film Censor, which rates films and videos before they can be distributed, can ban or require edits of movies which contain content considered to be "indecent, obscene, or blasphemous," or which expresses principles "contrary to public morality." In 2001, 26 videos were banned, primarily for violent or pornographic content.

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