- 20 Oct 17
The BAI has decided to “seek further clarification” in relation to the ban on Irish Times journalists imposed at stations owned by Denis O'Brien
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has decided to investigate the banning of Irish Times journalists from the Communicorp radio stations owned by Denis O’Brien.
The decision to “seek further clarification” was taken at the broadcasting authority’s monthly meeting, which took place yesterday.
A spokesperson for the authority confirmed that they had written to Comunicorp on October 13th, asking for additional information “on a number of matters in respect of editorial independence and the contractual commitments of individual services in the group.”
The ban was introduced in response to a column by Fintan O’Toole, and published in the Irish Times, which accused Newstalk of blatant misogyny, pointing not just to the recent controversy about presenter George Hook’s comments on rape, which resulted in the demotion of the broadcaster, but also to the absence of lead female presenters from any daytime slots on the station’s weekday roster. The radio stations affected by the ban, in addition to Newstalk, are Today FM, 98FM, Spin 1038 and Spin South West.
According to reports, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin, wrote to the BAI, asking the authority to consider whether or not the ban was consistent with the group’s obligations as a licensed broadcaster. This correspondence formed part of the discussions within the BAI. Denis O’Brien is also the main shareholder in Independent Newspapers.
The BAI has said that it will now write again to Communicorp, seeking further clarification. It will “not be making any further comment” while what they call the “engagement” is in process.