RTE and the Irish Times are reporting that all Irish Times journalists are banned from appearing as contributors to any Communicorp station until further notice.
Communicorp’s Chief Executive Adrian Serle informed staff this morning, and a statement from the Denis O’Brien owned group says the decision had been taken because of vile comments made by Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole in an article during the controversy over opinions expressed by Newstalk’s George Hook about rape and responsibility.
The ban applies to all Communicorp stations, including Today FM, Newstalk, 98FM and the two SPIN stations.
Communicorp says it had asked for an apology from the Irish Times for the article but the newspaper had refused. Irish Times Editor Paul O’Neil said there were no grounds for such an apology or for a retraction of the piece, which it said the media company had also sought.
He said Fintan O’Toole was entitled to express his opinion and that the Irish Times was entitled to publish it.
Delighted to see that Denis O'Brien's Communicorp is upholding free speech by banning all Irish Times journalists from all stations.
— Fintan O'Toole (@fotoole) October 5, 2017
Embarrassing move by Communicorp to ban Irish Times journalists from its outlets.
— Bernard (@BMC1991_) October 5, 2017
If you want a case study on consolidated media ownership, this is it. Denis O’Brien owns Communicorp & ~30% of Irish Times’ main competitor. https://t.co/VCKW9HzpEn
— Markham Nolan (@markham) October 5, 2017