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Tuesday 19 December 2017

Fianna Fail uses false claims to advance anti-false news bill. Re Strategic Communications Unit and the Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill 2017

James Lawless Fianna Fail TD has initiated a bill related to online advertising and multiple accounts transparency. Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill 2017 6th December 2017.

3 (2) Online political advertising shall not be paid for from monies provided out of the
Central Fund or the growing produce thereof or from monies voted by the Oireachtas.

There are other questions about this and bill the bots partis based on arbitary number, I favour the ad transparency part, but Fianna Fail have said a section of the bill is aimed at the governments use of Strategic Communications Unit's advertising accusing it of only being for one party in government.

12 December 2017 James Lawless held a press conference for the bill with Niamh Smith TD in which (at 7:50) he said,
"we haven’t yet seen any Independent ministers featuring in the adverts, which I think is interesting"

The Rugby World Cup bid ad featuring Independent TD Minister Tourism and Sport, which was produced by Merrionstreet.ie/SCU (2017-11-14).

Ireland at its Best - Rugby World Cup Bid #Ireland2023 Sep 23, 2017

Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill 2017 13 December 2017
Thomas Byrne: Deputy Lawless's Bill seeks to target bots, which I have dealt with in what I have already said, but also the strategic communications unit, which is an absolute disgrace. Let us be clear that the Minister, Deputy Naughten, is not getting a slice of the advertising pie because he is not in Fine Gael. The broad shoulders of Fine Gael have elbowed into all these paid ads. The latest one, promoting Deputy Leo Varadkar and Deputy Paschal Donohoe in his own constituency, had 400,000 viewers and was paid for entirely by all the taxpayers of Ireland. This is wrong and should be illegal. I have already put it to my party that we should introduce legislation to ban any Oireachtas Member from appearing in paid advertising by Government Departments unless it is required by law, such as in the case of a signature on an official order. I refer primarily to Ministers because they are the only ones to have done this so far. It is utterly wrong and disgraceful that the €5 million from the strategic communications unit, SCU, is being turned into paid Facebook ads for Fine Gael and the Minister, Deputy Naughten, should be clear that they are only for Fine Gael Members. While Dublin traffic was at a standstill on Monday morning because of the Luas works, a Facebook video promoting Deputies Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe and the Luas was on air for well over 24 hours.

Why doesn't he mention Independent TD and Minister for Transport Shane Ross who is in the video?

Luas Cross City Launches Dec 9, 2017 Merrionstreet.ie Twitter vesion

Thomas Byrne must also have seen the Rugby World Cup ad he asked a parliamentary Question about it on 28th November 2017.

Why are Fianna Fail TDs making false claims about who appear in the video/ads?

I asked them multiple times and they won't reply.

If you were going to criticise the Strategic Communication Unit in the midst of an anti-fake news bill would you not want to do it on an accurate basis?

Why is media repeating these claims without checking them.*

I asked them multiple times and they won't reply.

Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill 2017: Second Stage Vote passed, Labour, Greens, Social Democrats and members of Independents4Change voted for the bill without even speaking on it. Brian Stanley Sinn Fein TD, also made a similar claim about not seeing any Independent ministers in the video/ads.
I do not see the Independents figuring prominently in the advertising campaign overseen by the unit. In fact, I have not seen an Independent feature in it yet.

Media repeating false claims without checking them*
Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless wants legislation to crack down on fake Twitter bots Elaine Loughlin Irish Examiner December 13, 2017
"we haven’t yet seen any Independent ministers featuring in the adverts, which I think is interesting"
the article also originally said,
“If the same thing was done on radio it would actually be illegal under Section 38 of the Broadcasting Acts”
Which section 38 of which Broadcating Act? Section 38 of the 2009 and consolidated Broadcasting Acts don't seem relevant.

James Lawless TD told me he was refferring to Section 41(3) of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 not section 38.
(3) A broadcaster shall not broadcast an advertisement which is directed towards a political end or which has any relation to an industrial dispute.
Update: now stealth corrected :/ now what about his other claim about no Independent Ministers being featured?
Fianna Fáil proposes new law to regulate political advertising Sarah Bardon Irish Times December 12th 2017
Mr Lawless said the unit was promoting individual Ministers but not Independent Ministers.
While paraphrasing Irish Times made the same false claim.


Based on politics.ie thread
Department of Taoiseach Management Advisory Committee Monday, 11 September 2017
Taoiseach’s Strategic Communications Unit warned of dangers of the “parliamentary bubble” in briefing by UK experts Ken Foxe December 19, 2017
Civil servants in Varadkar spin unit are warned against 'politics'Jody Corcoran and Philip Ryan November 19 2017 - Independent.ie
Government of Ireland research and survey tender September 19th 2017
Howlin calls on SIPO to give advice on ballooning budget for spin unit Brendan Howlin 12 October 2017

Watch: 'This is bigger than sport, it's Ireland as a nation' - Brilliant new RWC 2023 video ahead of bid September 24 2017 Independent.ie