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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Denis O'Brien criticises Sindo for "one of the most biased campaigns ever waged"

O’Brien’s spokesman highlighted a recent edition of the paper which he said contained 15 articles designed solely to discredit the billionaire businessman.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

DENIS O’BRIEN’S SPOKESMAN has criticised the Sunday Independent for waging “one of the most concerted and biased campaigns ever waged against any individual in this country” with its coverage of the businessman.

In a letter published in full by Gavin Sheridan at, James Morrissey highlighted a recent edition of the paper which he said contained 15 articles which merged news with comment “to produce a cocktail designed solely to discredit Denis O’Brien”.

In the letter, Morrissey said that the “agenda-driven journalism” at the Sunday Independent had intensified in recent weeks as O’Brien had increased his shareholding stake in INM. Morrissey said that the paper had not at any time offered O’Brien an opportunity to respond to  the “endless” negative references to him.

The letter was sent to Michael Denieffe, the managing editor of Independent Newspapers and was forwarded to by a reader. In the letter, Morrissey dismissed a previous letter from Denieffe which had said there was “no basis whatsoever” in the suggestions of an editorial bias or agenda aimed at O’Brien.

“What standards or ethics permit such behavior? Where was balance – a cornerstone of professionalism in journalism – in yesterday’s coverage?” wrote Morrissey in the letter dated 2 April.  ”It was absent because that was what was decided”.

What we witnessed yesterday was pernicious journalism at its worst.

Denis O’Brien has moved closer to bidding for Independent News & Media in recent weeks after he increased his share in the newspaper group to 29.9 per cent – the most someone can own in a company before they have to make a bid for the entire company. O’Brien has moved to consolidate his control over the company since Gavin O’Reilly, son of Tony O’Reilly, stood down as chief executive in April, ending his family’s 30-year control of the company.

INM is due to hold its AGM in early June.

Read the full letter on >

No deal to give tender for water meters to O’Brien firm, insists minister >

Investor buys 5 per cent of Independent News & Media in one single trade >

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