Tag Archives: Communicorp

From top: The Currency; Denis O’Brien; Green Party leader Eamon Ryan; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan raised with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the recent decision by Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp – which owns Today FM, Newstalk, Dublin’s 98FM and Spin 1038 – to ban all The Currency staff, journalists, and contributors from appearing on the company’s radio stations.

It follows the implementation of similar ban against Irish Times‘ journalists in 2017.

He said:

“It seems to me that there’s a lacuna on our law. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland seems unwilling to take action against Communicorp which recently made a decision that certain members of the media, Tom Lyons and Ian Kehoe, from currency.ie [sic, thecurrency.news] will be restricted from taking part in radio programmes on their stations.

“It’s similar to the decision taken two years ago in response to an article Fintan O’Toole wrote which saw The Irish Times’ journalists banned from the stations.

“The recent case they say it because of commercial rivalry.

“I sense, I’ve talked to every grouping here today, is that every party is in agreement that that’s an egregious or has a poor effect on our democracy. We need a free press which is open to debate and allows different voices to be heard.

“And whether it’s for commercial reasons or whether it’s an editorial view of a certain owner – that they mightn’t like what is written in a paper – to ban journalists from radio stations is not what we want.

“To avoid the legislation, could I ask you maybe to join the other leaders and groups of every grouping in this House, to write a letter to Communicorp asking them to reverse the decision in both cases and to stand up for press freedom.

“I’d be keen to hear your views on that so I’d be happy to join the deputy in that.

In response, Mr Varadkar said:

“My sentiments are the same as his [Eamon Ryan’s] on this matter. I believe in free speech and I believe in a free press and I don’t believe anyone should be banned from the airwaves – journalist or citizen – unless it’s for a very good reason.

“And those reasons should be somebody inciting hatred but I don’t think that anyone should be banned from the radio, from TV, or from any publication, solely based on who their employer is.”

The Currency was launched last week by former Sunday Business Post editor Ian Kehoe and business editor Tom Lyons.

Hours after the website went live, Communicorp producers were informed of the ban.

Earlier this year, Mr O’Brien lost a defamation action he took against the Sunday Business Post over articles published in March 2015 about a Government-commissioned but unpublished PricewaterhouseCoopers report into Ireland’s top 22 borrowers.

The newspaper reported that PwC recorded Mr O’Brien as No.10 on the list.

In November 2008, after receiving the PwC report, the then Taoiseach Brian Cowen told the Dáil that Ireland was right to guarantee the banks in September 2008.

He also told the Dáil that there was enough money in Ireland’s banks for the next three years.

Mr O’Brien claimed the articles concerning him in the Sunday Business Post were defamatory of him but the jury found this was not the case.

Previously: Converted

Closing Arguments

Denis O’Brien leaving the Four Courts last year after he lost his case against the Dáil and State over statements made by in the Dáil about his banking affairs; a tweet by former Communicorp journalist Jessie Magee

Further to Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp banning all journalists from The Irish Times contributing to its radio stations…

Mark Tighe, in The Times Ireland edition, reports today about journalist Jessie Magee, who worked for Communicorp stations for ten years, deciding to quit last week.

He reports:

“I was unhappy with the management culture there for a while,” Ms Magee said. “It’s not a happy work environment.”

She also said that there was always extra concern about covering stories about Denis O’Brien on Newstalk or Today FM.

There have been stories over the years on Esat or O’Brien suing newspapers or the Dáil and there is a fear about covering them.’ Everything about him has to be vetted and proofed . . . There was huge concern about how, or if, we could cover those stories.”

Communicorp declined to comment.

Communicorp radio staff ‘embarrassed by ban on Irish Times journalists’ (Mark Tighe, The Times Ireland edition)

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“The Competition Authority must urgently review the extent of Mr O’Brien’s influence in newsprint, digital and radio. It needs to assess how that would be affected by a deal with TV3 in the areas of advertising and talent-sharing. The Competition Authority should seek to determine whether INM and Communicorp have engaged in any joint selling of advertising involving their respective platforms and the value of any such transactions.”

“That there is already co-operation between INM and Communicorp is not in doubt. In addition to scratching each other’s back on editorial matters there is also a growing trend for “contra” advertising. In 2012 INM received the equivalent of €500,000 in advertising from Communicorp and those stations received the same amount in return.”

“Last year those respective figures had increased to €1m. The authority also needs to find out what business arrangements, if any, exist between Mr O’Brien’s Topaz Energy, the country’s biggest oil and convenience brand with 330 stations, and INM’s newspaper titles.”

From an editorial in yesterday’s Sunday Times, further to the news that TV3 is planning to form a partnership with Communicorp, the radio group owned by Denis O’Brien.

Previously: Anything Good In The Sunday Times?

Topaz The Morning To You

Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland