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Ban on Irish Times journalists appearing on Newstalk is lifted

The newspaper’s journalists were banned from appearing on Newstalk and other Communicorp radio stations in 2017.

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A BAN ON Irish Times staff appearing on Newstalk and several other radio stations has been lifted, just days after the acquisition of the stations’ parent group was completed. 

The newspaper’s journalists were banned from appearing on Communicorp radio stations in 2017 after Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole said that Newstalk had become “the most flagrantly sexist public organisation in Ireland”.

In the column, O’Toole said he would not appear as a guest on the station in future.

A tweet on Newstalk’s Twitter account said today that the ban had been lifted.

“It follows a review of the restrictions earlier this week”, the tweet said.

As of this week, UK-based Bauer Media Audio, which is part of German media conglomerate Bauer, owns the Communicorp group, which includes Newstalk, Today FM, Spin 1038, Spin Southwest and 98FM.

The sale, which is believed to be worth more than €100m, marks the end of Denis O’Brien’s involvement in Irish media ownership.

Back in 2017, Newstalk’s managing editor Patricia Monahan defended the station in an article published in the Irish Times, calling O’Toole’s criticism “an outrageously unfair attack”.

However, in an email to Communicorp staff seen by The Journal at the time, Communicorp’s CEO Adrian Serle said that Newstalk also sought an apology from The Irish Times but that the paper refused to do this.

Serle’s email told staff that as a result of the refusal to apologise, a decision was taken to exclude Irish Times journalists and other staff from any Communicorp stations or shows.

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O’Toole’s column came after Newstalk presenter George Hook was suspended from the station over comments he made about rape, which drew widespread criticism.

The presenter ended a monologue on the issue of rape with the question “is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”.

He later apologised for the comments.

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