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.


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 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.


"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.

The Legal 500 2016

What the team is known for

Supports media groups in responding to claims of defamation, reporting restrictions and privacy issues. Also handles reputation management work for corporate clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

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

Work highlights

Acted for Frylite Group on its response to defamatory e-mails sent to its clients by a former employee using an anonymous e-mail account.

Defended the Impartial Reporter, a newspaper, against libel proceedings issued over an article the newspaper had published. Succeeded in having the matter struck out.

Notable practitioners

Olivia O'Kane is a dedicated media lawyer capable of tackling matters in all fields ranging from privacy and libel to social media and regulatory concerns. Sources describe her as a"very helpful" practitioner.

Declan Magee is a partner and a member of both the media and commercial litigation departments. "He's good at knowing the problems and finding the best solutions," report clients; "he's always commercially minded and not just legal."

Significant clients Sunday World, Bauer Media, UTV, News Corp UK & Ireland, National Union of Journalists.