The Minister for Justice has said that high defamation awards and legal costs associated with such cases threaten the economic viability of some national newspapers.

During Dáil statements, on a review of defamation laws, Helen McEntee said that it will be important to strike a balance between media freedom and the right to protect one's good name.

The general scheme of the bill is currently being drafted and it will likely go before Cabinet later this year.

Among proposals in a report compiled for the Minister is the removal of juries in defamation trials, due to claims that they can lead to unpredictable outcomes and high pay outs.

The report, published on 1 March, also proposes an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) mechanism. This would allow a person to apply to court for summary dismissal of defamation proceedings brought against them if they believe it is vexatious.

During today's Dáil statements, Social Democrat's TD Holly Cairns said that the financial vulnerability of media outlets was being exploited in order to suppress stories.

Ms Cairns said that the 2009 Defamation laws should have been reviewed seven years ago.

"The blunt truth which I think we all need to acknowledge is that it wasn't changed because the current laws benefit politicians", she told the Dáil.

Ms Cairns said that this was not a party specific issue and that politicians across the House had taken such cases against media outlets "for decades".

The Cork South-West TD said that it was the responsibility of politicians to ensure that the law gives journalists the freedom to investigate, expose corruption, backroom deals and lies.

"This house has abdicated that responsibility for a long time now, so it is very welcome to see reform on the way," she said.

Fianna Fáil's Darragh Calleary said that he also felt that a review of the 2009 Act was overdue, however, he disagreed with Deputy Cairn's claim that this was as a result of some politicians wanting to maintain the status quo.

He praised the work of investigative journalists, particularly in the areas of crime and business.

Mr Calleary echoed calls to remove financial barriers to taking defamation laws, but he also said that the right to media freedom had to be protected.

He called on the Minister for Justice to give the review "the priority it deserves".

Sinn Féin TD, Patricia Ryan, said that her party supports the proposed anti-SLAPP mechanism, but that it does not want to see juries removed from defamation trials.

She said that any reform should remove financial barriers, to ensure that everyone has the ability to take a case if they choose to do so.

This point was echoed by many TDs, such as Mattie McGrath, who said that costs associated with defamation cases were too high and that he had experience of this himself.