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 and 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

  • 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 2020

Media & Entertainment Department

What the team is known for

Assists publishers, broadcasters and social media platforms on commercial agreements, IP protection and compliance with online, data protection and advertising regulation. Also recommended for advice on pre-publication and reporting restrictions.


Sources say this is "a very well-organised outfit and one of the best firms in Northern Ireland."

Work highlights

Retained to advise Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland on terms and conditions, regulatory and advertising issues, and jurisdictional issues regarding privacy, data protection and the management of criminal offences committed on the platform.

Notable practitioners

Olivia O'Kane advises global corporates, national and local media companies and newspaper groups on all manner of commercial, regulatory, IP and reporting restriction matters. A client says: "She is extemely committed and provides a Rolls-Royce service."

Defamation/Reputation Management Department

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, and is noted for its work challenging reporting restrictions and anonymity orders.


One client reports: "The team is very efficient and pleasant to deal with," while another adds: "They are very open and very organised."

Work highlights

Acted for several major media organisations in successfully challenging the reporting restrictions that had been granted in relation to the high-profile rape trial R v Paddy Jackson, Olding, McIlroy, Harrison.

Notable practitioners

Fergal McGoldrick is a well-regarded associate noted for his considerable expertise in advising clients in the media industry on a wide range of matters relating to libel, privacy and data protection.

Olivia O'Kane"is thorough in her approach, clear-sighted and gives good, balanced advice," remarks an impressed source, while another adds: "She's proactive, dynamic and very impressive." She is a highly experienced practitioner routinely instructed by leading newspapers, publishers and broadcasters to provide advice on a range of privacy and defamation disputes.