BOTH THE BRITISH and the Irish general secretaries of the National Union of Journalists have hit out at reports that the co-owners of the Irish Daily Star are threatening to close the paper after it published topless pictures of Kate Middleton.
The Irish Daily Star is co-owned by Northern and Shell and Independent News and Media. Yesterday Northern and Shell chief Richard Desmond said that he was taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture and condemned the decision to publish the images.
The Guardian reported that Desmond is convinced that he has the power to shut the paper down completely. The Irish Daily Star gets a portion of its content from the UK title, and it’s thought that Desmond is planning to withdraw this content from the Irish publication and may insist that the paper changes its name.
The Irish secretary of the NUJ Séamus Dooley has called Desmond’s decision a:
… callous and crude attempt by Northern and Shell to protect their UK commercial interests with no regard for the livelihood of Irish workers.
The NUJ’s UK secretary Michelle Stanistreet has said that there is no justification for putting jobs at risks because of an editorial disagreement and said that “editorial management of the newspaper rests with the editorial team in Dublin”.
Dooley meanwhile said that the Irish Daily Star had always been marketed as being free of UK interference in editorial matters and said that the reaction of Northern and Shell has gone far beyond the “agreed mechanisms for dealing with editorial breaches”.
A spokesperson for Independent News and Media told TheJournal.ie yesterday that the publication of the images of Kate Middleton was “regrettable and in poor taste”, and that INM had no prior knowledge of the intent to reproduce the images.
Editor of the Irish Daily Star Michael O’Kane said yesterday that he considered the images to be tasteful and said that the issue seemed to only cause fury in the UK.
Prince William and his wife are currently on a tour in the Far East. Legal proceedings have already begun against the French magazine Closer, which originally published the pictures of the prince and his wife while on holiday in France.