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BAI to write to Communicorp for a second time over station-ban on Irish Times journalists

The Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp has had the ban in place since 5 October.

90246935_90246935 Writer with the Irish Times Fintan O'Toole Laura Hutton / Laura Hutton / /

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) is to write to media company Communicorp over a number of recent issues, including the blanket ban placed on Irish Times journalists from appearing on the company’s radio stations.

That ban has been in place since 5 October.

It was instigated in reaction to statements by journalists such as the Irish Times’ Fintan O’Toole with regard to George Hook and the comments he made about a rape case on his Newstalk show.

Hook has since taken a sabbatical from Newstalk. He will return with a new weekend show on the station before the end of the year.

The BAI considered the issue of the Irish Times ban, together with “matters in respect of editorial independence and the contractual commitments of individual services” at its meeting today.

That meeting was held in light of the BAI writing to Communicorp seeking clarification regarding these matters, and Communicorp’s subsequent response.

The authority will now write to Communicorp for a second time.

“The discussion (at today’s meeting) gave rise to a number of further matters for clarifications which the BAI wishes to raise with Communicorp,” a spokesperson for the BAI said this afternoon.

The BAI will write to Communicorp on these matters and will not be making any further comment while this engagement is underway.

The Communicorp ban was issued in reaction to journalists, including O’Toole, saying they would no longer appear on Newstalk while Hook remained with the station.

Hook’s midday programme is now set to be taken over by health expert Dr Ciara Kelly.

As well as Newstalk, Communicorp also owns stations such as Today FM, Dublin’s 98FM, Spin 1038, and Spin South West.

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